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Judge convicts man on drug charge

January 19, 2018 GMT

A judge convicted a Fort Wayne man Thursday of a felony drug charge in connection with a case in which he is accused of binding and torturing two women in 2016.

Judge John Surbeck found Morgan K. Govan guilty of possession of a narcotic drug in a bench trial in Allen Superior Court. Citing prior drug and battery convictions, Surbeck also ruled he is a habitual offender.

Govan, 39, was arrested in August 2016 after police say he and Genues S. Jones threw the women down into the basement of a home on Chestnut Street. Govan tied them up, beat them and tortured them using tools including a claw hammer, court documents said.

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Heroin was found in Govan’s pocket when he was arrested, Fort Wayne police detectives testified Thursday.

He pleaded guilty last week to two felony counts of criminal confinement. A sentencing hearing is set for Feb. 16 on all three charges.

Charges of kidnapping, battery by means of a deadly weapon, intimidation and criminal confinement resulting in serious bodily injury will be dismissed, prosecutors said.

Govan became enraged Aug. 29, 2016, after he discovered items missing from a storage locker, and one of the victims said the items were traded for drugs from another heroin dealer, according to court documents. He drove the woman in her car : punching her in the face at least 10 times : to his home, where the other victim admitted to taking the items and promised to return them, the documents said.

Growing angrier, Govan and Jones threw the women into the basement, where Govan used cables to tie their hands behind their backs. Jones left the house after realizing Govan intended to kill the women, a probable cause affidavit said.

Govan whipped the women with a cord, kicked them and dropped a large rock onto the back and leg of one of the victims, court documents said. One victim told police she was hit in the head and back with a claw hammer.

One of the women escaped and ran to a nearby home after Govan went upstairs to take a break after 15 minutes torturing the victims, the affidavit said.

The other woman was thrown out of the house when Govan discovered the other woman gone, and he allegedly said he couldn’t kill her now because the first victim had gone to the police.

Severe injuries to one victim’s face and body made interviewing her difficult, Detective Christopher Crapser wrote in a report.

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Detective Todd Battershell of the Fort Wayne Police Department said Thursday he found liquid he believed to be blood and the cords used to bind the women when he entered the home in 2016.

Govan spent much of the early portion of the bench trial trying to stall the proceedings and arguing his attorney, Anthony Churchward, lied to him and did not show him evidence.

The judge said he did not believe the accusations and defended Churchward.

“You’re entitled to appointed counsel,” Surbeck said, denying Govan’s request for another lawyer. “You’re not entitled to appointed counsel of your choice.”

Govan also tried to take back his guilty plea, arguing he never wanted to plead guilty. That was also denied by Surbeck, who said the decision was made by Govan in a hearing last week in which the option was explained to him.

“I’ll give you credit for one thing,” the judge said. “You’re a master of twisting the facts.”

Jones, who is charged with two counts of criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon, is scheduled to be tried April 17.

mleblanc@jg.net

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