NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — One of the suspects in a recent shooting and attempted robbery at a Taunton business faced a judge on Thursday.
Prosecutors say Billy Morris and a 17-year-old juvenile tried to hold up Eagan’s Package Store on Cohannet Street on the evening of April 26, but Morris’ lawyer contends they have the wrong guy.
Morris, 18, has been held without bail since late last week on the charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, armed robbery, and conspiracy. Given the nature of the crime, the judge on Thursday declared Morris dangerous and ordered him held for an additional 120 days.
The store’s owner, identified only as Alice, fought off the two suspects and suffered a short-range shotgun blast in the process, according to police.
“I believe a portion of her left thumb was severed,” said Taunton Detective Ralph Schlageter. “She sustained severe injuries to the left side of her torso, requiring surgery.”
The store remains closed while Alice continues to recover at the hospital. Neighbors have had an outpouring of support for the woman and her husband, from messages and little gifts left at the storefront, to money being raised to help with medical expenses and lost business.
Police allege the juvenile pulled the trigger while Morris was his accomplice. The Commonwealth argues the two were together earlier in the evening, an unmasked figure on surveillance video strongly resembles Morris, his clothing matches clothing seen on tape, and shoes with colorful laces were found in the juvenile’s bedroom.
“Made an indication that Billy was wearing the white shoes that were in the bedroom,” Schlageter added. “The mother also made that indication.”
Morris’ attorney blasted that evidence, saying the height and shoe size of the suspect do not match his client’s. He also said Morris’ claim of innocence was not mentioned in any police report.
The sawed-off shotgun was found in the juvenile’s bedroom closet, according to prosecutors.
In court previously, prosecutors said Morris has a juvenile record with probation violations for assaultive behavior.