courtesy of Howell County Jail

Man charged with kidnapping, assault

Jesse Morgan, 28, of West Plains, faces a battery of felony charges including kidnapping and assault after a March 7 incident involving an ex-girlfriend. 
Howell County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a call reporting a traffic accident, a domestic disturbance, and the use of a firearm. 
Corporal Matthew Roberts arrived on the scene on County Road 9370 and spoke to the reporting party. This party and the female victim, a former significant other of Morgan’s, had been driving on this road when they met Morgan driving the victim’s vehicle. According to the probable cause statement, the witness said Morgan intentionally swerved into her car, colliding with the driver’s side. 
After the crash, the victim exited the vehicle with the intention of taking possession of her own car from Morgan. Morgan moved the vehicle forward, and the victim had to jump on the hood to avoid being hit. Morgan drove off with the victim clinging to the hood of the car. The witness reported hearing the woman scream down the road, then gunshots, and more screaming.
While taking the witness statement, Corp. Roberts learned that Morgan and the victim were located at a residence on Kody Dr. in the city of West Plains. West Plains Police Department officers had taken Morgan into custody. 
The victim was visibly distraught and shaking, according to court documents. Corp. Roberts recorded that she seemed to be having a panic attack and was having difficulty speaking clearly to the officers. 
When she could make a statement, she said Morgan drove an unknown distance with her on the hood of the vehicle before she jumped off. He then stopped the vehicle, produced a handgun, and fired at her once. She began to seek cover behind the car, and he fired two more rounds. He said he intended to kill her. 
The victim told police she tried to reenter the vehicle and lock the doors, but Morgan was back in the car before she could engage the locks. He drove toward West Plains, eventually arriving at his own residence. 
Investigation revealed 9mm casings in the roadway near the scene of the shooting, but officers did not locate a handgun in a search of Morgan’s residence. 
In an interview with police, Morgan denied firing a gun at the victim, but corroborated the story of driving off with the woman on the hood of the car. 
The Howell County Prosecuting Attorney’s office charged Morgan with six felonies on March 7 – first degree attempted domestic assault, second degree kidnapping, unlawful possession of a firearm, armed criminal action, unlawful use of a weapon, and first degree property damage. As of press time, Morgan remains in Howell County Jail on a $100,000 bond. 
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