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July 25, 2018 - 4:23pm

Name released of Liberty Street murder victim

posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

111libstbatviajuly252018.jpg

A 47-year-old Batavia man with many local family members has been identified by Batavia PD as the victim of a homicide last night at 111 Liberty St.

Raymond Lee Morgan died in his room last night after police and medics were dispatched because of a reported fight.

The suspect apparently fled on foot after jumping from a small second-story window. Police have not released a description of the suspect and he is apparently not yet in custody. 

In a release, Batavia PD said Morgan was well known to local officers. He had a criminal history and was on parole.

He was released from State Prison in November after serving a year on a criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th, charge. He also served time from 1999 to 2002 on a grand larceny conviction.

But to his friends and family members gathered across the street from 111 Liberty St. this afternoon, he was a father, son, uncle and brother.

Victor Thomas, who said he grew up with Morgan as his uncle but called him his brother by the time he was an adult, said Thomas loved the Yankees and he loved cars.

"He was big into cars and any car he had, it was going to have a system in it," Thomas said. "He loved to hear it bang. He loved to let people know he was coming before he was there."

Thomas got a little choked up talking about Morgan. He recalled that Morgan was always there when he was a kid to help him and his family.

"He had a big heart," Thomas said. "From the time I was knee high, he made sure I went back to school with nice clothes. If my mother and father couldn't do it, he was there to get me things I needed to be just OK."

He saw Morgan as bigger than life.

"Ray was a dude that lived his life with an open heart," Thomas said. "He had so many friends. He had so many people who wanted to be around him. I mean, he was a character. He was one of a kind. You can ask anybody that. He was one of a kind. There is nobody else walking this earth who was like that dude."

Family members in the parking lot across from the rooming house were agitated while police officers and parole officers were inside the multi-unit building trying to untangle their complaints and deal with a couple of suspected parole violators.

One of them, family members said, had spread false rumors on Facebook that Morgan was the killer and he also apparently entered the room where Morgan died after police cleared the scene and took photos of the blood-soaked scene and posted them on Facebook.  

Taken into custody today was Michael Elmore. Family members shared with The Batavian posts with Elmore's name on them where Elmore said Morgan was killer and they accused Morgan of taking and posting the bloody pictures. 

Police Chief Shawn Heubusch explained this afternoon that once investigators finish processing a crime scene, the property is turned over to its owner and the owner from that point is responsible for securing the scene.

A source family with police procedures explained further that by law, police can't remain in custody of a scene once processing is completed without a warrant.

It was unfortunate, Heubusch said, that before the landlord could secure the scene, another resident of the boarding house went in and took pictures of the pools and splatters of blood in the room and posted them on social media.

"It doesn't help our investigation at all," Heubusch said. "It compromises our investigation."

He said he understands seeing those pictures online was very upsetting to family members.

"It's a shame there is no social norm anymore where people won't publish that on social media," Heubusch said. "It's absolutely ridiculous."

Ryan Macdonald is the property owner. He said he was notified at 6 a.m. by Batavia PD that he needed to secure the crime scene. He said when he arrived there was no door into Morgan's room and the window had been removed. Both were taken by investigators as evidence.

Removing Morgan's personal effects wasn't easy, Macdonald said, but that everything that could be returned to them was returned (at the scene this afternoon there were accusations that items were missing and that Morgan's laptop was found in the room of one of the parolees arrested, but Batavia PD could not confirm that information).

"I hate to say this but everything else in that room was covered in blood," Macdonald said. "Everything that was a health hazard, we had to clean or throw out. We had to throw out the bed. I own the bed but we had to throw out the bed. The sister wanted to go into the room but we had to bleach everything and clean everything. I spoke with a hazmat company and they came out and looked at the room and saw the work we did and they said we did what we were supposed to do."

At the start of the interview, Macdonald expressed his condolences for the family. 

"It's unfortunate that someone has died," Macdonald said. "My heart goes out to all of the family. They have lost a son, a child, a father, a brother."

It's days like today that being a landlord is especially difficult, he said.

"We all make choices and I chose to be a landlord but on days like this, I hate being a landlord because no matter what I do people will be mad at me," Macdonald said. "But I believe people can change. I believe people can become better. And that's why we rent to parolees."

111libstbatviajuly252018elmore.jpg

Michael Elmore being taken into custody for an alleged parole violation.

Ed Hartgrove
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Joined: Dec 20 2012 - 11:54am

"Police have not released a description of the suspect...".

I'm left wondering, "Why?".

I mean, I'm pretty sure the person who actually did it KNOWS that he/she did it. I would also think that the person who did it, most likely, has to figure that they are the "suspect" being sought. So, I'm left trying to figure out why the suspect's description hasn't been released to the public. Why is the public being left out of the loop?

If a friend or family member came to me, and asked me to "hide them out", because someone was out to harm/kill them, I certainly wouldn't be running around saying, "So-and-so is at my house". On the other hand, if someone came to me and said they had just killed somebody, there's no way I'd want to "hide" them. I might suggest that they turn themselves in, but, I'm not putting my freedom on the line for them.

Without having a description of the suspect, the public, in general, could unknowingly be aiding and abetting that person - as in, "What's that? A gang of MS13 members are threatening your life? And, you need $200 and a ride to Syracuse? Sure, I'll help you."

OK, maybe the description that the police have is too general to be of much help. I suppose SOME descriptions could fit such a large number of people that, every other 5th person might fit it. But, with NOTHING at all to go on, the public is almost helpless to assist.

Roberta White
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Joined: Jun 20 2014 - 10:34pm

Shouldn't a warrant be issued immediately for a crime scene when a significant crime has occurred? I would support that.

Howard B. Owens
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Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm

You would have to get a search warrant, which means you would have to articulate what you're searching for, which would mean that you would have to explain why you didn't find it during your probable cause search; but then, if you hadn't found it during your probable cause search, you could legally keep searching and wouldn't need a warrant. Once you've found every piece of evidence you think is relevant. You stop searching. Probable cause ends and you have to surrender the property. If there's nothing left to search for, there's no legal way to get a warrant.

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