Former Henry County deputy found guilty of murder charges after wife’s death in May 2020

Southside Virginia News

David Morse was arrested on May 20, 2020 in connection with the death of his wife a week earlier. (Photo: Courtesy Martinsville Bulletin)

HENRY COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — More than 18 months after a woman was fatally shot in a Henry County home, her husband — a former law enforcement officer — was found guilty of murder and conspiracy charges on Wednesday.

Virginia State Police say 63-year-old Pamela S. Morse of Martinsville, was found dead in her home in the 1300 block of Wingfield Orchard Road on May 13, 2020.

According to authorities, then-66-year-old David Lee Morse — the victim’s husband and a former deputy with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office — called 911 at 7:52 a.m. that day to say he had just arrived home from work and found his wife dead.

The Medical Examiner’s Office told WFXR News that Pamela died from a gunshot wound.

While investigating, police discovered a 2010 Jeep Compass and a few items missing from the house. The Jeep was found abandoned later in the day on May 13, 2020 behind a home in Franklin County, along with several guns and items stolen from the Henry County crime scene.

Authorities announced on May 21, 2020 that David and three other people were charged with the following offenses following Pamela’s death:

  • David Lee Morse of Martinsville: First-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder
  • Collin Joshua Russell of Stuart: First-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, grand larceny of a firearm, and grand larceny of a motor vehicle
  • Tanna Shelton Fitzgerald of Fieldale: First-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony
  • Casey Lynn Rogers of Meadows of Dan: First-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, grand larceny of a firearm, and grand larceny of a motor vehicle

Investigators say David and the three other individuals allegedly planned Pamela’s murder for three days.

Then, in September 2020, a Henry County grand jury indicted the two men and the two women for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges.

Over a year later, on Wednesday, Dec. 1, the Henry County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office says David was found guilty during a bench trial of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with his wife’s death. A pre-sentence report has been ordered for his next hearing, which is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2022.

Court records say Russell is set to appear in Henry Circuit Court for the five charges listed above — as well as a charge for possession of a firearm as a felon within a 10 year period — on Dec. 22.

Then, on Jan. 26, 2022, Rogers is scheduled for a hearing in Henry Circuit Court for her five charges, along with a charge for possession of a firearm as a violent felon, officials say.

As for Fitzgerald, though, she died at Sovah Health Martinsville on Oct. 15, 2020 while she was an inmate at the Henry County Jail, according to authorities. The Henry County Sheriff’s Office says she told deputies she had taken an excessive amount of prescription blood pressure medication and she was brought to the hospital.

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