Published DateLACONIA — A local man who had recently been living in Hawaii is charged with one count of robbery after allegedly stealing a purse from a female Domino's Pizza customer at 9:18 p.m. Wednesday.
Jojo R. Morton, whose address is given as 45 Endicott Street East in Laconia, appeared by video arraignment in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division on Thursday and was ordered held on $5,000 cash-only bail.
According to affidavits obtained from court, police received a call from a woman who said she was exiting Domino's when a man who was "crouched down next to the door" popped up and grabbed her purse. She said when he pulled it, he pulled her into a pole.
Police said the woman was transported to Lakes Region General Hospital with facial injuries. In court yesterday morning, Laconia Police Prosecutor Det. Chris Noyes said he didn't know the extent of her injuries and argued her injuries were among the reasons police wanted a cash-only bail.
Responding officers said the woman described Morton as dark and muscular and said he ran toward Mechanic Street. Police conducted a K-9 search with a dog from Gilford and the animal located Morton hiding under a trailer. Police said he was wearing black shorts, was muscular, and appeared to be scratched and sweaty.
He allegedly told police his name was Lamar Morton and that he was chasing the guy who committed the robbery and that the guy had a gun.
After arriving at the police station, the man again said his name was Lamar Morton but shortly police learned he was Jojo Morton and police had house warrants for him. Police matched a previous photograph of Jojo Morton to the accused.
Police remaining at the scene recovered a red shirt, a wallet with Morton's identification and a cell phone from behind Domino's.
When asked why he lied, police said Morton told them he "just wanted to be with his family."
According to court paperwork, Morton had been arrested in January by city police and charged with criminal mischief and resisting arrest for an incidents that happened on December 28, 2012. He was also charged by police for one count of receiving stolen property on June 22, 2012.
Noyes said Morton had a criminal record with misdemeanors ranging from drug possession to simple assault from 2001 to 2003. He also said Morton had been staying in Hawaii, had significant ties there and was "obviously a flight risk."
He also told the court that Morton has used the name of his brother-in-law and hid his identity from police.
Public Defenders represented Morton and said he had strong ties to Laconia and had graduated from Laconia High School. Morton's lawyers said he didn't know about the charges from June and December, however Carroll noted that he had signed the bail slips and didn't show up for his court date in January.
Morton, whose mother was in court, is in Laconia to attend the funeral of a relative. His mother told the court she didn't want him to be released but she did want him to be able to attend services.
In his bail order, Judge Jim Carroll said he would be allowed to attend the funeral under the condition he follow the protocols of the Belknap County Sheriffs Department regarding special releases from jail, which is a sheriff's escort according to Sheriff Craig Wiggin.
She also said he needs "to grieve with his family, " but Carroll stopped her from speaking, saying he was aware of Morton's recent loss.
Morton's attorneys also said Morton is innocent of robbery and wants his name cleared.