CHARLESTON - The mother of a deceased Greenbrier County man filed a lawsuit against two West Virginia State Troopers claiming they killed her son "execution-style."
Sharon Carr, the mother of Joshua Morgan, filed the lawsuit July 10 in Kanawha Circuit Court on behalf of her son's estate. The suit names V.S. Deeds and T.D. Bradley, who were then state troopers, as defendants.
Joshua Morgan was shot to death July 10, 2001, after he ran from police. A forensic pathologist from the California Autopsy and Consultation, John T. Cooper, M.D., conducted an autopsy, which was included in the lawsuit. The autopsy reveals Morgan was shot several times, in the arm and the head.
"Death was the result of multiple bullet wounds to the head, administered at close range by one or more handguns," the autopsy says. "Three of these injuries exhibit characteristics of contact wounds.
"This injury pattern indicates purposeful execution of a defenseless victim."
Carr said in the suit that she believes her son was murdered because of his knowledge about illegal conduct of some officers, which included drug sales and buying alcohol for underage females in exchange for sex.
The suit says Morgan also bought marijuana from police officers, at their home in Ronceverte. Deeds and other officers detained Morgan on June 20, 2001, over an alleged arson, and allegedly beat him on the way to the Lewisburg State Police Barracks.
After that, Morgan claimed the police threatened to kill him, and gave him a picture of a person being sodomized and told him he would be subjected to such acts in prison. According to the suit, Carr claims Morgan lived in fear until his death July 10.
Carr claims she was approached by Deeds on July 10, and he deceitfully told her Morgan was using OxyContin, and she should institute an involuntary commitment proceeding.
"The warrant issued for the involuntary commitment proceeding, along with two other warrants issued weeks earlier for petty crimes, served as a pretext for a 'manhunt' to arrest Josh," the suit says.
The suit says on July 10, Morgan was on his way to deliver wood in Monroe County, when Deputy Sheriff Farmer stopped him.
"Fearing for his life, John fled into the woods," the suit says.
Deeds and Bradley joined in the search for Morgan, and upon seeing him, repeatedly fired shots, "striking his body many times over."
"Deeds and Bradley, acting together, placed the barrel of a large caliber handgun between the eyes of Josh, pulled the trigger and executed him," the suit says.
In the four-count suit filed by Wheeling attorney Paul J. Harris, Carr claims Deeds beat Morgan. Carr seeks $10 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages.
Howard E. Hill, Jr., the former superintendent of the West Virginia State Police and the state of West Virginia are also named as defendants in the suit.
Carr originally sued the officers in federal court, but the case was dismissed by U.S. District Judge David A. Faber. Carr appealed, but Faber's ruling was upheld.
Bradley is currently a lieutenant with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Charleston and Deeds is the detachment commander in Lewisburg.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-1402