IL Curless: Defendant says some other dude did it
- From: indigoace@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Indigo Ace)
- Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2008 17:29:51 GMT
From the Peoria [IL] Journal Star--
Morgan fingers others in death
Recorded statements show defendant blaming others for Curless' slaying
Friday, March 21, 2008
BY FRANK RADOSEVICH II
OF THE JOURNAL STAR
Eureka - All the while maintaining his innocence, Hershel Morgan said
he was seated behind Jessica Curless the moment she was killed,
according to videotaped statements he made to investigators.
He told police Jessica Curless was in the driver's seat of her car
when he heard the hammer strike her head and felt blood splatter
across his face. But Morgan, 25, was adamant someone else delivered
the fatal blow. Who that individual was and how the crime occurred
changed over time as Morgan fielded a battery of questions from
In the first taped statement, dated Jan. 19, 2006, that was played
Thursday morning to the jury, Morgan, who is on trial this week for
18-year-old Curless' slaying, denied ever knowing Curless, saying only
her name and face seemed familiar. When officers at the Peoria Police
Department pressed him further, he eventually recanted and said
Curless had likely run off, possibly to Florida, with a man she was
dating named Cody.
Although Curless' body wasn't found until March 3, 2006, police had
discovered traces of her blood in her Pontiac Sunfire, which Morgan
admitted to driving when an Illinois State Police trooper pulled him
over for a seat belt violation. Investigators also later found
personal items of Curless dumped on the banks of the Illinois River.
The clues and testimony from Morgan's friends lead them to believe he
either killed Curless or knew who did.
"She didn't tell me where she's going," Morgan replied in the video.
Dressed in a black-and-white jumpsuit of a jail inmate, Morgan was
interviewed again on March 6, 2006, at the Tazewell County Jail. This
time, police confronted Morgan with Curless' death, showing him a
photograph of her body, to which Morgan recoiled in disgust. Curless
went missing on Jan. 10, 2006, and likely died sometime before Jan.
13, 2006, authorities said.
Crying at times and becoming annoyed, Morgan pleaded with detectives
to believe him, the videotape showed. He said his friend Carlos Hobson
murdered Curless in the car while the three of them and Danny White,
who Curless worked for as a live-in baby sitter, hid out from
authorities near a vacant farmhouse north of Spring Bay.
The detectives didn't buy this story either and said Morgan likely
killed Curless after realizing she would rat him out to the police.
They pressed him continually to come clean, though Morgan maintained
his innocence. Later, he stated Hobson was not present in the car and
that White killed Curless. White then made Morgan swear not to tell
The trial, expected to continue into the first part of next week, will
resume at 9 a.m. today.
Frank Radosevich II can be reached at 686-3142 or fradosevich
Anne, indigoace at goodsol period com
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