Bond for Dylan Morse, 25, of Cleveland, was reduced from $1 million to $150,000 on Wednesday by 258th State District Judge Travis Kitchens in San Jacinto County. Morse is a suspect in a shooting that claimed the life of Jesslyn Draper, 18, of Porter. The new surety bond conditions mean that Morse can be bonded out of jail for $15,000 and will have to wear an ankle monitor and remain under house arrest at his mother’s home.
The shooting that led to his arrest took place on Aug. 19 in the 6000 block of FM 1725 in the Cleveland area of San Jacinto County. Draper was found deceased in the yard, dead from a gunshot wound, and Morse was found in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head, according to a statement from the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office immediately afterward.
Morse survived his injuries and, since being released from the hospital, has been held at the San Jacinto County Jail, which is under the supervision of the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office.
In a hearing on Wednesday, SJCSO law enforcement personnel – deputies who responded to the shooting scene and those who handled Morse in jail – answered questions from District Attorney Todd Dillon and defense attorney Cordt Akers. One deputy explained that the weapon used in the shooting was a 45 Long Colt Revolver. Two rounds were fired from the weapon – one at the victim and one in the Morse’s alleged suicide attempt.
“Only two rounds were fired from the weapon. He made no attempt to get rid of witnesses, right?” Akers said, to which the deputy replied “Yes.”
The deputy also discussed witness statements that said Morse ran out of the house when Draper pulled up in a vehicle at the home. An argument ensued and they began to wrestle, during which the witnesses heard the gunshot that killed Draper.
Akers asked Capt. Denise Bradshaw, who works in the jail, about her many interactions with Morse. Bradshaw explained that Morse does not speak a lot but does speak when necessary.
Responding to Akers’ questioning, Bradshaw, who described her oversight of medical needs within the jail as “stringent,” said Morse does not speak unless spoken to and was likely not paying attention to court proceedings on Wednesday.
“A lot of this is going in one ear and out the other?” Akers asked, to which she replied, “Yes.”
“Would you think that someone with a bullet wound to the head would need long-term care?” Akers continued. She replied, “Probably.”
In pleading for the reduced bond for his client, Akers told Judge Kitchens that Morse has longstanding ties to San Jacinto County and other neighboring communities, and that his family will make sure he abides by reduced bond conditions.
“They are here to say they will take care of him. They want to make sure that he gets medical care. He needs to see a neurologist,” Akers said.
DA Dillon reminded the court that the one person who is not there to speak on the reduced bond request is the victim. Dillon said that Morse showed little regard for his victim and behaved in a repugnant way.
“You could call it a neurological injury but I have never seen a person flipping the bird at the victim of a fatal shooting. It goes to his utter disregard. I think he is extremely dangerous and is a threat to the community,” Dillon said.
After Judge Kitchens announced the reduced bond, he told Morse’s family that he must be in contact with the probation department twice a week and there can be no firearms in the house. He advised Morse and his family that if Morse violates the terms of his bond, he will likely be sitting in jail until his trial next year.
Akers told the court that Morse’s doctors may need him to stay in an infirmary for medical care. The judge said the probation department must be notified of Morse’s movements.