About a dozen family members and friends of murder victim Raymond Morgan were in Genesee County Court this afternoon when the man accused of killing him rejected a plea offer, opting instead to take the case to trial and face up to 25 years to life in prison.
Richard D. Hanes (inset photo, right), head shaved, constrained by shackles and wearing orange jail clothes, swiftly entered the courtroom when the side door swung wide open, and was told by a deputy to take a seat next to his attorney, Frederick Rarick.
The 36-year-old former Orleans County resident is accused of beating Morgan to death in his apartment at 111 Liberty St., Batavia, on July 24. He is charged with murder in the second degree, a Class A-1 felony, and has pled not guilty.
Under the plea offer, Hanes faced a minimum of 15 to 20 years in state prison.
Rarick told Judge Charles Zambito that he discussed the plea offer with his client and Hanes rejected it.
Zambito said today was the plea cut-off date and after today the offer would no longer be available and he asked Rarick if his client understood that. Rarick said he did.
Zambito also cited the "severe brutality" exhibited in this case and then set a trial date of Monday, July 22, with jury selection to begin the week before.
With the trial date set and the case dismissed, Morgan's loved ones abruptly stood and left the courtroom, causing a commotion as they did so. A couple of young women shouted out homophobic slurs and one said "Scumbag! Hope you get 25 years to life!"
A deputy quickly followed the group outside, telling them not to shout out.
One woman sobbed uncontrollably outside the courtroom as others tried to comfort her.
Investigators in the case have said the attack on Morgan was "exceptionally violent" and it happened "in an extremely short period of time." The motive, if there was one, was not clear, but detectives say they believe the attack was planned.
Hanes has been in custody since July 26, two days after the murder, on an alleged parole violation. He is being held at the Attica Correctional Facility.
In 2003, he was convicted in Orleans County of burglary, 3rd, attempted robbery, 2nd, and grand larceny, 4th. His parole on those charges expires Dec. 7.
In November, a Batavia police spokesman said Hanes was living at 5 Thorpe St., Batavia, a rooming house for clients of GCASA, at the time of Morgan's murder. (For previous story, click here.)
District Attorney Lawrence Friedman previously told The Batavian that there were witnesses in the area at the time of the murder who identified Hanes as the attacker. He said the people's case also includes scientific evidence, items of physical evidence, and surveillance video from various locations that follow Hane's path after the crime.
Morgan was a 47-year-old Batavia native with a large, tight-knit family that includes five grandchildren and many friends.