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Document: Officer begged for his life

March 21, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN

A Roxbury Correctional Institution officer who was shot while on duty at Washington County Hospital begged for his life before he was killed, according to a court document filed Monday.

As Jeffery Alan Wroten lay on the floor, Brandon Morris, 20, an inmate being treated at the hospital, crouched above him, threatening him before shooting him, the document alleges.

The details are included in a bill of particulars, a document outlining the state's case against Morris, who faces 36 charges, including three separate counts of murder, in connection the Jan. 26 shooting of Wroten and other crimes. The document acknowledges that the state does not know how Morris escaped from restraints.

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A registered nurse is the only person listed in the bill of particulars as someone who claimed to have observed Morris threatening and shooting Wroten, though it is not clear from the document what she might have seen.

"I'm going to kill you, you (expletive)," Morris allegedly told Wroten as he begged for his life, according to the document.

The bill of particulars alleges that after he shot Wroten with the officer's .38-caliber gun, Morris dragged a woman from a nearby hospital room into the hallway. According to the document, he threatened the woman, and he waved the gun in the direction of another woman. He left the hospital in a cab after threatening the driver, according to the document.

Morris was arrested after a foot chase when the cab crashed in Pennsylvania just across the Maryland state line on U.S. 11. He was wearing only boxer shorts, according to the document.

Mark Vernarelli, director of public information for Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, and Maryland State Police Trooper Rick Bachtell said Monday that investigations into the shooting were not finished.

According to Maryland Division of Correction spokeswoman Maj. Priscilla Doggett, the division believes its procedures for restraining inmates when they're admitted to a hospital were followed.

On the same day the bill of particulars was filed, Morris' defense filed seven motions objecting to prosecution requests for records from the Prince George's County Department of Juvenile Services, the Division of Correction, Baltimore City Department of Juvenile Services, Baltimore City Public Schools, Baltimore County Public Schools, Baltimore County Department of Juvenile Services and Washington County Hospital.

Prison officials have withheld the exact reasons why Morris had been admitted to the hospital, saying only that it was for treatment of a "medical condition."

The (Baltimore) Sun reported two days after the shooting that Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Mary Ann Saar told senators Morris had stabbed himself in the chest with a needle.

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