The Davidson County district attorney has decided not to prosecute a 73-year-old man on a 46-year-old escape charge, a spokeswoman said Monday.
Spokeswoman Susan Niland said her office notified the Tennessee Department of Correction of its intention not to prosecute Leroy Albert Morgan of Mosheim, Tenn.
Davidson Assistant District Attorney Roger D. Moore wrote that Mr. Morgan’s age was a prime factor in the decision.
“Considering Mr. Morgan’s current age, the fact that he has committed no other crime during his time on escape status, and that he has apparently been living here in Tennessee for many years, our office will not present this matter to the Davidson County Grand Jury,” Mr. Moore wrote.
Mr. Morgan was picked up in a Department of Correction cold-case sweep in February. Authorities said he had been on the run since 1962, when he walked away from the now-closed Tennessee State Penitentiary in Nashville. He had served one year of a three-year prison term for breaking into the Daisy Pruett Foodtown in Hamilton County, records show.
After his arrest in February, Mr. Morgan was taken to the Brushy Mountain Correctional Complex, a maximum security facility in Petros, Tenn., officials said. Records show he will face a parole board hearing there April 22.
The Department of Correction supports the decision not to prosecute Mr. Morgan, according to a spokeswoman.
“Given the circumstances, we’d agree that the district attorney’s resources could be used on more immediate threats,” department spokeswoman Dorinda Carter said. “He will be supervised when he’s released, so that still reinforces our message that, just because you leave, you still have to come back and serve your time.”
Mr. Morgan’s April 22 hearing won’t lead to an immediate release from jail. Instead, information taken at the hearing will be relayed to the parole board, which will vote two to three weeks later, parole board spokeswoman Melissa McDonald said.
After that, Mr. Morgan must demonstrate that he has employment or a source of income and that he has housing, she said.
Mr. Morgan’s family members have said he was drawing Social Security benefits when arrested and that he had retired from construction and was living in a mobile home near his son in Mosheim, a small upper East Tennessee town in Greene County.
At the time of his arrest, his granddaughter, Charley Melton, said it was a shock to family members. She said he was reclusive, only leaving home a few times each month for groceries.
His former wife said Mr. Morgan’s health should be considered by the parole board.
“We are concerned about his mental and physical well-being,” Carolyn Banks said. “He can barely walk. He’s totally disabled.”