Dajon Morton was released from the Rappahannock Regional Jail on Wednesday, the same day he had been scheduled to go on trial for a 2017 incident in Fredericksburg during which one young woman was robbed and another was shot in the head.
Prosecutor Elizabeth Humphries on Wednesday dropped multiple charges against Morton, including robbery and unlawful wounding, stemming from a July 27, 2017, incident at the W.L. Harris Neighborhood Park in Mayfield. That decision was greeted by applause from Morton’s supporters in the courtroom.
The 23-year-old Morton, a Gaithersburg, Md., resident, had been in jail since Aug. 23 following his arrest in connection with the Mayfield shooting and robbery. But the case against him hit a snag after it was learned that a search warrant affidavit related to Morton’s phone records had not been properly filed in Fredericksburg Circuit Court.
That led a judge Tuesday to rule that evidence recovered from that search could not be used in a trial this week. Humphries determined that she could not get a conviction without that evidence and decided to drop the charges.
Morton might not be totally in the clear. Under the motion granted by Judge J. Howe Brown, the charges against Morton could be reinstated at a later date.
Defense attorney Tara-Beth Coleman asked Brown for a dismissal, which would have gotten rid of the charges for good, but Brown quickly rejected that request.
It remains unclear what went wrong with the search warrant, but city police spokeswoman Sarah Kirkpatrick said Thursday that the mix-up did not involve city police.
“Procedurally, the Fredericksburg Police Department filed the appropriate paperwork and correctly submitted the affidavit in order to obtain a search warrant for Dajon Morton’s phone,” Kirkpatrick wrote in an email. “There was no error made by our agency during the investigation.”
On the same day Morton got out of jail, his co-defendant in the case was taken into custody. Daporcha Longus, 20, of Spotsylvania, was jailed on a pretrial violation of failing to report on a drug test.
Longus had been charged with conspiracy to commit robbery in connection with the Mayfield incident. That charge was dropped Wednesday, but Longus is still facing a credit card theft charge involving the same victim.
Brown ordered her jailed on the alleged bond violation and ruled that she be held without bond at least until a Feb. 28 hearing.