Bail denied in attempted murder

Published 11:14 am Friday, June 27, 2014

Warren County Judge Johnny Price denied bail for a man accused of attempted murder in a home invasion robbery of a 70-year-old woman and in a separate hearing ruled that his co-defendant should also be held without bail.

Price denied bail for Bryan Jason Morton, 33, 7123 Grand Gulf Road, Port Gibson, during an initial court appearance Thursday morning in Warren County Court. Earlier in the morning, Price ruled that Morton’s co-defendant Kimberly Nicole Chatman, 23, of Vicksburg, should be held without bail.

Both are charged with attempted murder, home invasion and burglary in an attack on the woman May 4 in the 3600 block of Warriors Trail.

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The attack left the woman hospitalized for days.

Morton surrendered to deputies Wednesday after he was featured in a television newscast of the state’s most wanted suspects.

He appeared in court wearing an orange Warren County Jail jumpsuit and made no significant statements during the hearing other than to answer procedural questions asked by Price.

Chatman was arrested May 5 after two men called 911 when they discovered her covered in blood and stranded in a vehicle on U.S. 80.

“She told them she had got in a fight with a girl,” Warren County Lt. Randy Lewis said during a hearing in which Chatman and her attorney Michael Warren asked for a bail reduction.

Chatman had been held in lieu of $500,000 bail since her arrest.

Since attempted murder carries a life sentence, Chatman is not entitled to bail under the state constitution, Assistant District Attorney Lane Campbell said.

The Mississippi Department of Human Services took a 6-month-old child in the vehicle with Chatman when she was arrested into custody.

Inside the vehicle Chatman was driving, deputies found the 70-year-old woman’s purse, and a hunting license belonging to another resident of that address, Lewis said. When deputies arrived at the home, they found the woman lying in a pool of blood in her bedroom.

Chatman told deputies that she and Morton went to the home on May 4 and she watched as Morton broke in and began assaulting the 70-year-old woman, Lewis said.

“She stated that he did hit [the victim] when she tried to defend herself,” Lewis said.