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Dashcam footage from defendant’s vehicle featured in Morgan murder trial

YOUNGSTOWN — Video from John Morgan’s dashboard camera was the focus of his murder trial Friday.

Morgan, 47, of Campbell, is on trial in the July 31, 2022, shooting death of Danny Peek Sr. outside of Peek’s home on East Florida Avenue on the South Side.

The second day of testimony saw Morgan’s estranged wife, Mary Morgan, and Peek’s son, Danny Jr., take the stand, along with a forensic pathologist from the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Youngstown Police detective who investigated the shooting.

As Mary Morgan testified, Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutor Rob Andrews showed the jury video collected from Morgan’s dashcam, which was collected three days after the shooting occurred.

The video was played during both Mary Morgan’s testimony and Detective Sgt. Anthony Bitullo’s.

The video shows Peek Sr. step off his front porch as John Morgan gets out of his car and approaches him. The video shows John Morgan swinging the gun at Peek Sr., and Peek Sr. punching him. At some point, the gun fires and John Morgan loses the gun. As the scuffle continues, Peek Jr. joins the fight and both men are seen kicking and punching John Morgan, who gets up before Peek Sr. can be seen yanking Morgan by his shirt and tossing him back to the ground, where Morgan then finds the gun.

As Mary comes down the porch steps, Peek Jr. runs toward the back of the house, followed by Peek Sr.

As Peek Sr. starts to run away, John Morgan is seen pointing the gun at him from a kneeling position and a shot is heard.

“I heard him say ‘I’m shot,'” Mary said. She told the jury she ran behind Peek Sr. and saw him fall to his knees in the backyard.

“He fell to his knees and started praying,” she said, visibly emotional.

Vitullo said Peek Sr. died at the scene, while Forensic Pathologist Daniel Sullivan testified that the death was caused from a single gunshot wound to the back, which went through Peek’s right lung and exited his chest.

Defense Attorney Brandon Henderson attempted to convince the jury that Peek Sr. was waiting for John Morgan to arrive with the intent to assault him

Mary Morgan said Peek Sr. was angry because John Morgan was not welcome at the house and both of them were upset that he was coming there to pick up the Morgans’ daughter, Katelynn, and her son.

Andrews objected several times to Henderson’s implications that Bitullo was calling John Morgan a liar, and he also raised several objections to issues of relevance in questioning. Sweeney sustained almost every objection. At one point during Andrews’ redirect questioning, Henderson said “Judge…” and Sweeney told him “If you’re objecting, I’m overruling.”

Henderson repeated his client’s claim that he fired at Peek Sr. to get him and his son to stop beating him, but the video plainly showed that neither man was attacking Morgan — and that Peek Sr. was running away — when Morgan fired.

Vitullo said Morgan not only admitted to shooting Peek Sr. during his initial interview but that he told the detective two days later “I think I might have been wrong. I didn’t need to fire at him.”

The prosecution did not rest its case Friday and the trial will resume Monday.

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