Morgan Could Face
Up To Life In Prison
If Convicted Of All
Charges Against Him
BY JOHN M. JONES JR.
The man charged with the armed robbery of a Greeneville Federal Bank branch and a local Stop & Go Market was told in federal court here Thursday that, if convicted on all charges, he could potentially face life imprisonment.
He and the woman also arrested Tuesday on local armed robbery charges were both in court here Thursday morning -- although in different courthouses -- to hear the charges against them formally presented.
Larry Shane Morgan, 36, of Chuckey, and Kaylen L. Butcher, 19, of Old Stage Road, Limestone, were arraigned at almost the same time in separate Greeneville courtrooms only a block apart.
Morgan made his initial court appearance at 10:45 a.m. Thursday at the James H. Quillen U.S. District Courthouse, on West Depot Street, before Magistrate Judge Dennis H. Inman.
He was arraigned on federal charges that were filed Tuesday afternoon, based on a two-count Criminal Complaint prepared by Special Agent Casey Helm of the Knoxville Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Morgan is charged in connection with the armed robbery of a local branch of Greeneville Federal Bank on Monday, July 3, and the armed robbery of the Stop & Go Market at Chuckey on Thursday night, June 28.
A gun shot was fired in each robbery, and a clerk at the market was struck in the head with the barrel of a pistol carried by the robber. There were no other injuries in the robberies.
Morgan and Butcher were arrested Tuesday after an intensive, cooperative investigative effort involving the Knoxville Office of the FBI, the Greeneville Police Department, the Greene County Sheriff's Department, the Johnson City Police Department, and the Washington County Sheriff's Department.
Among those present at Thursday morning's hearing before Judge Inman were Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Bowman, who is prosecuting the case against Morgan; two FBI Special Agents involved in the investigation; and Greeneville Detective Capt. Beth Dyke.
GRAND JURY TO MEET
Judge Inman set a preliminary hearing for Morgan for 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 11.
Such hearings are used for the presentation of legal arguments by prosecution and defense about whether there is probable cause to charge a defendant with a crime.
But the next federal grand jury for this division of U.S. District Court is scheduled to convene in Greeneville on Tuesday, July 10, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bowman confirmed to the court on Thursday that he plans to present the Morgan case to that grand jury on behalf of the federal government.
An indictment of Morgan by the grand jury is anticipated, Judge Inman said, although, of course, not definite.
Under U.S. law, all defendants are considered innocent until and unless proven guilty.
If the grand jury should decide to indict Morgan before the time of his scheduled hearing on July 11, Judge Inman explained to him Thursday morning in court, there would be no probable-cause proceeding.
Instead, the judge said, the hearing that day would be used to arraign Morgan on the charges that had been placed against him in the grand jury indictment.
Judge Inman explained to Morgan at the hearing that, if convicted of the charges related to the armed robbery of the bank, he faces the possibility of up to 25 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and up to three years on supervised release after his imprisonment.
If convicted of the charge related to the armed robbery of the convenience market, the judge said, Morgan would face imprisonment of 10 years to life in prison, to be served consecutively with the bank robbery sentence if he is convicted of that crime.
In addition, Judge Inman said, if Morgan is convicted of the charges relating to the armed robbery of the market, he would also be subject to a fine of $250,000 and up to five years on supervised release after his imprisonment.
In response to a question about legal counsel, Morgan requested that an attorney be appointed for him, and Judge Inman appointed Assistant Federal Defender Nikki Pierce to provide representation.
At the hearing on Thursday, Morgan was represented by a colleague of Pierce, Assistant Federal Defender Tim S. Moore.
Only about 15 minutes prior to Morgan's initial appearance before Judge Inman, Butcher, reportedly Morgan's girlfriend, appeared at the Greene County Courthouse before Greene County General Sessions Court Judge Kenneth Bailey Jr. for her own arraignment on a charge of aggravated robbery.
The county courthouse, located at the corner of South Main and Depot streets, is only a block away from the federal courthouse.
Butcher is charged in connection with the armed robbery at the Stop & Go Market on June 28 but not with the July 3 bank robbery.
No mention was made during the hearing Thursday of the potential sentence she might face if convicted of the charge against her.
Judge Bailey scheduled her preliminary hearing in his court for 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 18.
Butcher asked that legal counsel be appointed for her, and Judge Bailey appointed the Greene County Office of the Public Defender to represent her.
IN DETENTION CENTER
At his arraignment Thursday morning, Morgan was dressed in a jump suit, with dark brown hair pulled back in a long ponytail. He appeared calm and responded to Judge Inman's questions in a clear voice.
In response to a question about his education, he stated that he held an associate's degree (from a junior college).
He was the only prisoner to come before the court at the federal hearing, and the proceeding was dismissed shortly before 11 a.m. after the arrangements for his legal representation were settled.
In the General Sessions Court hearing, Butcher was brought in with about 15 other prisoners who were being arraigned on a variety of charges in State of Tennessee jurisdiction.
All the prisoners were wearing black-and-white-striped jail clothing.
She was quiet and subdued in manner, and responded to Judge Bailey's questions in a soft voice.
In answer to his specific questions, she said that she had never been in trouble with the law before, and that she does not have a job.
When Judge Bailey asked why she did not have a job, she replied that her father was in hospice and she had been taking care of him.
Both Morgan and Butcher were in shackles, as were the other prisoners brought over to the county courthouse from the Greene County Detention Center next door for the Sessions Court proceeding.
Both prisoners continue to be held in the Greene County Detention Center: Morgan on federal charges, Butcher on State of Tennessee charges.
Butcher is being held on $150,000 bond. No bond has been set, or publicly discussed, for Morgan as of this time.
Greeneville Sun Staff Interns Emily Hagenburger and Andrew Jones contributed to this article.