An accused killer was on drug court when he allegedly shot at one man and then fatally attacked another, records show.
Johnny Morgan, 34, of Camden, seemed to meet the diversion criteria, with a long history of nonviolent drug offenses dating back more than a dozen years.
In Oct. 2, he was accepted into the program rather than serving a minimum of 2½ years of a five-year prison sentence.
But a month later, Morgan shot at one man during a robbery and attacked another who later died of his injuries, according to the charges he now faces.
Morgan and two others allegedly shot at George Stokes at about 4:15 a.m. Nov. 3, in the area of South California Avenue in Atlantic City, according to the complaint.
That same day, former Atlantic City lifeguard Andrew McGarrigel was found unconscious on North Virginia Avenue. The 53-year-old man died Thanksgiving Day. Morgan was charged with aggravated manslaughter a week later.
He has been jailed since Nov. 4, when he was arrested at the Public Safety Building while trying to bail out one of his co-defendants. Such payments are not an option under state bail reform.
Instead, Stokes was taken into custody and police searched his home and a vehicle used by him and co-defendants, Eugene McKethan and Anthony Hamlett.
At his home detectives found a loaded handgun reported stolen from Pennsylvania, numerous rounds of ammunition, 11.3 grams of cocaine, 30 bags of heroin, 2.2 ounces of unpackaged heroin and the materials used to package the heroin into individual bags.
There was also an infant in a Pack ‘n’ Play and three other juveniles in the apartment who were within access of the gun and drugs, according to the charges, which include child endangerment.
The Division of Child Protection and Permanency was notified and responded to the apartment.
Another gun was found in the vehicle, police said.
Morgan has a criminal history dating to juvenile charges, records show.
His adult charges date to at least 2004, when the then-21-year-old Morgan was arrested for resisting arrest in a motor vehicle. He also was charged with unlawful possession of an air or spring gun. The next year, he was arrested for the distribution and manufacture of cocaine. A plea agreement gave him a prison sentence of three years.
He was paroled Jan. 10, 2006, after eight months, but violated three months later and was sent back to complete his sentence, according to Department of Corrections records. He maxed out April 20, 2007.
He had at least four more arrests beginning Dec. 12, 2008, with the last a year later, all related to the possession and distribution of cocaine. court records show.
He was allowed into the Drug Court program in October, since he met the criteria, including no history of violent crimes.
That changed with his arrest Nov. 4. He was ordered held while he awaits trial. On Nov. 29, the day after McGarrigel died, he was charged with aggravated manslaughter, which carries a potential prison term of 10 to 30 years.