Thirty eight year old James Morse of Salem, Massachusetts was arrested yesterday in Danvers and charged with an array of serious Massachusetts Felonies. According to a report in today’s Salem News Morse, while in Connecticut convinced a twenty six year old woman to enter his car and travel with him to engage in some housekeeping activities at his home. After getting into the car Morse threatened the woman and disclosed to her that he owned an escort service for which he insisted she work. There were two other women in the car with Morse at that time. The four travelled to a hotel in Danvers where Morse supposedly beat and strangled the woman. After the three assailants fell asleep the woman made her escape. This occurred at 10:00 in the morning. The police were called and Morse along with his two companions were arrested. Morse has been charged with several Massachusetts Prostitution related Offenses. Among the charges is Deriving Support from Prostitution and Procuring a Person to Perform Prostitution. Morse has also been charged with Kidnapping, Assault and Battery, Assault with the intent to Commit Murder, Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon and Resisting Arrest. The case is pending in the Salem District Court and will probably be prosecuted in the Essex County Superior Court.
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As a Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer I am curious about what happened to the two women who accompanied Morse. Usually people in this situation are charged along with the principle offender as joint venturers. The prosecution suggests that as accomplices they helped lure the victim into the car and perhaps made possible the allegedly horrible things that Morse did to this woman. Charging people in this situation serves two purposes. The first is obvious. It is to hold them responsible for their criminal actions. The second is to put them in a position where they feel compelled to assist the district attorney and provide evidence (in this case most likely testimony) against Morse; i.e. cooperate and get the charges reduced or dismissed. The position that these women take in this case will have a strong effect on how the prosecution proceeds against Morse.
The facts as stated in this article look somewhat suspect here. Why did the woman get into Morse’s car? How did that happen? Where was she when it happened? How did the woman appear to the police when they first saw her? Did she reveal injuries consistent with having been beaten and strangled as she mentioned to the police? What about the other patrons in the hotel? What did they hear or see? I imagine that Morse’s lawyer will immediately move to get an order for the hotel to produce its guest list from that evening so that the patrons in abutting rooms can be questioned about their observations. Cases like this one are often easy to try and rarely is the evidence that is used at trial as compelling as is represented at the arraignment.
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman defends Sex Crimes in Massachusetts as well as Violent Crimes and all criminal cases. We can be reached at all times. Call us at 617-263-6800 or send us an email to discuss your case.