Caught for animal cruelty

ROCK CAVE — A Gassaway man remains jailed following an intoxicated incident of obstructing an officer and cruelty to an animal. According to court documents, 58-year-old Mark Morgan was an unwelcomed visitor at a Rock Cave residence, where he kicked a dog and refused to comply with law enforcement.

The criminal complaint said Deputy J. Barcus received a call about an intoxicated male identified as Mark Morgan, trying to enter the home of Collett Fitzwater in Rock Cave. The officer was advised that Lewis County Deputies initially received the call for service, so Barcus requested their units respond until he arrived. Morgan was detained upon Barcus’s arrival and allegedly refused to talk. The homeowner said she knew of the accused from school but had no idea what he was doing at her house. 

Fitzwater continued to explain that Morgan kept rattling her front door while screaming, “Go ahead and call 911, I have a 9mm and one shot. It only takes one shot.” The woman said she locked herself inside and called 911. Fitzwater also mentioned she didn’t know if the accused was threatening her with the 9mm or was just simply rambling. The homeowner further stated she observed Morgan kick her dog, telling it to get down. 

The officer returned to the accused and ordered him to stand up, but he reportedly refused.  This led Barcus and the other deputies to escort Morgan to his feet and into a patrol car. The defendant was transported to Tygart Valley Regional Jail, where he remains. 

If found guilty of obstructing an officer, Morgan could face confinement in jail up to one year and/or fined $50 to $500. If convicted of cruelty to animals, Morgan could be confined in jail not more than six months and/or fined not less than $300, nor more than $2,000.  Bond was set in the amount of $5,000 and upon release, Morgan is to have no contact with Ms. Fitzwater and must comply with random drug/alcohol testing.


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