A man accused of shooting a woman in the head at a Fredericksburg playground in 2017 while robbing another woman could be out of jail as soon as this Wednesday.
Dajon Armani Morton, 23, of Gaithersburg, Md., was supposed to have a two-day jury trial starting this week in Fredericksburg Circuit Court. He is charged with robbing Latisha Moore at the W.L. Harris Neighborhood Park in Mayfield on July 27, 2017.
A woman who was with Moore at the park, Nahkyia Smith, was shot in the head during a struggle for Moore’s money. Smith was critically injured, but has since recovered enough to testify.
But prosecutor Elizabeth Humphries filed a motion Tuesday to drop the charges against Morton, which include robbery, unlawful wounding and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
The motion stems from the fact that the affidavit for a warrant that allowed police to search Morton’s phone records was not filed in Circuit Court when it was supposed to be. The reason is not clear.
As a result, Judge Sarah Deneke ruled Tuesday that information gathered from the search would not be permitted in a trial this week. That includes text messages that Humphries wrote are crucial in identifying the robber, corroborating the victim’s testimony and providing evidence of Morton’s “consciousness of guilt.”
Humphries wrote that without that evidence, the prosecution does not believe it can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The motion will be heard Wednesday morning. If Humphries’ motion is granted, defense attorney Tara-Beth Coleman said she would expect Morton to be released from jail later in the day because he would have no pending charges.
Coleman indicated that she would argue for a dismissal, which would prevent the prosecution from bringing the charges back at a later date. Under the motion filed by Humphries, Morton could be charged again at a later date.
A woman who had been accused of helping set up the robbery, Daporcha Longus of Spotsylvania County, will also have her conspiracy to commit robbery charge dropped. Longus, who is represented by attorney Jason Pelt, still has a credit card theft charge pending. That charge involves the same victim, but occurred several weeks before the playground incident, court records show.
Court records show that the robbery victim inherited a large amount of money following the death of her mother. She spent a considerable amount on people she apparently considered friends, including Longus and Morton.
Moore purchased motel rooms that a group of people utilized, and she treated several young women to such things as getting their nails and hair done, food and alcohol.