published Monday, January 28th, 2013

Police: Crowbar killing was robbery for drug money

Chattanooga police arrested Laura Morgan for allegedly using a crowbar to strike James Masingill, 73, in this house they shared at 3401 Orchard Knob Avenue. Masingill was pronounced dead at the scene.
Chattanooga police arrested Laura Morgan for allegedly using a crowbar to strike James Masingill, 73, in this house they shared at 3401 Orchard Knob Avenue. Masingill was pronounced dead at the scene.
Photo by Jay Bailey /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • photo
    Laura Morgan has been arrested and charged with the 1st Degree Murder of James Masingil and Especially Aggravated Robbery.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A 73-year-old man begged for his life as he was struck repeatedly in the head with a crowbar.

No one heard his cries.

No help came.

James Masingill died inside his home at 3401 S. Orchard Knob Ave. on Saturday night.

A woman living in the house, 48-year-old Laura Morgan, reportedly bludgeoned him to death from her wheelchair to take his wallet, according to Chattanooga police.

Morgan, who has no legs, took $200 from Masingill's wallet as he lay on the ground, according to the police report. She went out and bought crack cocaine. Then she returned home to call police and report Masingill's death, the report stated.

She was waiting on the front porch when officers arrived. Morgan told police she killed Masingill and that the crowbar was still inside the house with his body, according to the report.

Masingill's death marks the third homicide of the year in Chattanooga.

Morgan has prior convictions for prostitution and drug possession in Hamilton County, according to court records. She now faces charges of first-degree murder and especially aggravated robbery.

She remains jailed without bond. She has a record of being a fugitive, according to court records. She is set to appear Feb. 5 before General Sessions Court Judge Christine Sell.

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