After evading warrants for about 10 years for breaking into a Fairborn store to steal cigarettes, Jason M. Morrow finally was sentenced Tuesday morning in a Greene County courtroom.
Morrow, 32, was sentenced to a year in prison and ordered to pay court costs and the cost of extradition after pleading guilty for felony counts of breaking and entering and failure to appear as part of a plea agreement.
A Sunday story in the Dayton Daily News reported that there were 35,181 felony warrants listed in Ohio’s Law Enforcement Automated Data Systems (LEADS). Many of those wanted people are not pursued due to higher priorities and a lack of resources. But when law enforcement gets a lead, they may follow up.
“Is it worth the expense that you’re going to incur to get this person?” asked Mark Adkins, a deputy with the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office and the deputized federal marshal who apprehended Morrow. “We split the cost between the prosecutor’s office and the Fairborn police department.”
Police reports indicate Morrow broke into the Videoteca Latina on Aug. 20, 2002 and later bragged to friends about stealing what reports said was about $100 of Marlboro Reds and Marlboro Lights cigarettes.
A probable cause warrant for Morrow was issued in 2002. In late 2004, Fairborn police apprehended Morrow, who claimed he moved to Texas and then Montana. After pleading guilty in March 2005, Morrow failed to appear in April for sentencing. A tip about Morrow led authorities to Lander, Wy. Morrow was picked up in July, seven and half years after his original sentencing hearing.
“If a guy pleads guilty and then skips before sentencing, that’s a high priority, even if it’s a lower degree felony,” Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen K. Haller said. “You can’t have that.”
To help defray costs, Adkins flew a multiple-connection route from Dayton to Atlanta to Salt Lake City to Jackson Hole. He picked up Morrow at 3 a.m. from Idaho authorities and even hit a deer near the Grand Tetons on the way to the airport, he said.
“We had to pay for airfare. That’s part of extradition costs that we put into the file and request reimbursement for depending on when case is disposed of,” Adkins said last month.
Judge Stephen A. Wolaver ordered Morrow to pay court costs and $1,935.99 in extradition costs plus a 5-percent surcharge. The original fifth-degree felony may not have resulted in prison time. The fourth-degree failure to appear could have meant an 18-month sentence and $5,000 fine. Morrow will serve concurrent one-year prison terms for both crimes.
Defense attorney Christopher Fogt declined to discuss why Morrow evaded authorities for nearly a decade.
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