FREEHOLD - Did Marcus Morrisey and his nephew, Danron Morrisey, rob and kill Randolph Goodman during a drug deal outside Goodman's Neptune home, or did detectives jump to the wrong conclusion during what was described by defense attorneys as a sloppy investigation into the 2018 killing?
Those were questions raised during summations in the trial of the uncle and nephew from Asbury Park in the Nov. 10, 2018, murder of Goodman, a 43-year-old cocaine dealer and father of four.
Marcus Morrisey, 52, and Danron Morrisey, 30, both of Asbury Park, have been on trial before Superior Court Judge Marc C. LeMieux, charged with murder, felony murder, robbery and weapons offenses in the shooting death of Goodman.
Prosecutors argue the uncle and nephew committed the fatal robbery when Marcus Morrisey went to Goodman's home on Old Corlies Avenue in Neptune to purchase crack cocaine from him. At the beginning of his summation, Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Michael Luciano played a surveillance video that showed two men fighting with Goodman that he says proves the pair's guilt.
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Defense attorneys John Perrone, representing Danron Morrisey, and Joshua Hood, representing Marcus Morrisey, said in their summations to the jury that the prosecution's investigation was shoddy and sloppy and failed to include things like searching Danron Morrisey's home for the mask prosecutors allege he wore during the robbery and murder.
Perrone said detectives did not bother to do forensic testing on the gun they claim was the murder weapon or a pair of sneakers, size 8, both which were found on an Asbury Park street in January 2019. Nor did they bother to learn what size shoe Danron Morrisey wears, or the shoe size of another man defense attorneys say had a gun the night of the murder, Perrone asserted.
Perrone criticized Detective Sgt. Kevin Condon, now retired from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, who was the lead detective on the case.
"Officer Condon jumped to a conclusion based on a hunch,'' Perrone said in his summation. "He only looked for evidence he wanted to see, that helped him.''
Perrone said there is no evidence that one of two assailants pictured on a surveillance video of the incident is his client. The only eyewitness couldn't identify him.
Hood said in his summation that the video does not depict a robbery, nor does it show Marcus Morrisey with a gun.
The state's case relies on phone calls between the uncle and nephew and surveillance video of them meeting up just before the incident at the Quick Check the street, Hood said.
"What has the state actually proven, because Marcus Morrisey is not on trial for making phone calls,'' Hood said.
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Despite the claim of prosecutors that the gun found in Asbury Park was the murder weapon, Hood said investigators never tested the bullet found in Goodman's abdomen to link it to the gun. He put forth a theory that Goodman may have had a gun that his girlfriend, Shalyce Davis, the only eyewitness to the shooting, got rid of in the minutes before police arrived to the scene.
Hood said investigators performed "a shoddy investigation that leaves a perfectly plausible alternative theory on the table.''
Luciano, the assistant prosecutor, replayed the surveillance video of the crime at the onset of his summation. The video shows two men fighting with Goodman and his girlfriend in the doorway of Goodman's home.
"This video functions as the central element in this case,'' Luciano said.
"The crimes themselves, as well as the moments before and the moments after, are captured on video,'' the assistant prosecutor said.
Although defense attorneys painted Davis as a liar, "the video backs up exactly what she says,'' Luciano said.
Davis testified that Marcus Morrisey came over to purchase 30 grams of crack cocaine from Goodman that night. She said she heard a tussle after Goodman went downstairs to sell it to him and followed to find her boyfriend in a fight with two men.
Davis testified she joined in the fight to assist Goodman when she heard a single gunshot. She and Goodman retreated inside their apartment, where Goodman collapsed at the top of the staircase, she told the jury.
Davis testified that the 30 grams of crack cocaine was stolen from Goodman, but defense attorneys pointed out that she didn't tell that to police when they responded to the shooting.
Davis looked at police mugshots that night, but said she didn't recognize anyone as either of the two assailants. Days later, she recanted and said Marcus Morrisey was one of the two men at the scene of the killing, but she didn't know who the second person was.
The trial is before Superior Court Judge Marc C. Lemieux.
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Neptune NJ killing on video; did the state prove murder?