Man indicted in April 13 city slaying

July 20, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN - Three months after a man was stabbed 33 times with a knife in a drug dispute, according to Hagerstown police, another man has been indicted on murder charges.

Marshall Adams, 26, of Hagerstown, is facing one count each of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Leo Anthony Morris.

Adams was on parole when Morris, 31, was killed.

Morris's stabbed body was found in a Bethel Gardens Apartments walkway, in the 300 block of Bethune Avenue, at about 4:45 a.m. on April 13. Bethune Avenue runs parallel to North Potomac Street.

"This was a very brutal and horrific homicide," Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. Paul Kifer said.

Kifer said police believe the men fought when Adams tried to sell cocaine to Morris, but Morris didn't want to pay for it. He said police don't know whose knife was used in the stabbing.


The case was presented July 12 to a grand jury in Washington County, which handed up the indictment.

Police served Adams with the indictment Wednesday.

He is being held at Maryland Correctional Institution-Jessup on an unrelated parole violation, Kifer said.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the indictment hadn't been unsealed and was unavailable in Washington County Circuit Court.

Adams was convicted in Washington County in February 2004 of possession of a controlled dangerous substance and was sentenced to four years in prison, Maryland Division of Correction spokesman George Gregory said.

He was released on parole in February 2006.

Morris, also known as "Cash," was a vagabond who ended up in Hagerstown, but he had no family ties here, Kifer said.

He previously said Morris had relatives in Ranson, W.Va., and Tennessee.

Adams grew up in Hagerstown, Kifer said.

Police said a video camera taping Jonathan Street around the time of the stabbing captured footage of Adams entering a home he had given as his residence while on parole.

The clothing he wore and his physical description matched a person seen around the time of the stabbing, Kifer said.

"In the beginning, this was definitively a 'whodunit' type of murder," he said.

He said police spent five "exhaustive" months looking at videotape and interviewing and reinterviewing people.

Kifer said in a news release that police learned early on that Adams had fled to Chambersburg, Pa. Despite help from police there, they didn't find him.

Kifer said Hagerstown police found out on May 16 that Adams had been arrested in Philadelphia on April 28 on a parole warrant unconnected to the homicide, then was transferred to Baltimore.

Detectives picked up Adams in Baltimore and brought him to back to Hagerstown to be questioned about Morris' death.

Hagerstown police announced the indictment Wednesday after they had served Adams with it.

First-degree murder, the most serious of the charges, is punishable in Maryland by either death or life in prison.

Kifer said the first-degree murder count was filed because authorities allege that the killing was premeditated.

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