Charles Morgan was traveling from his home on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., to see his father and brother in West Palm Beach on August 1 when he encountered some inclement weather. The 59-year-old custom home builder checked into a Rodeway Inn & Suites in Dania Beach, Florida around 9pm, hoping to see his family the next day.
But he never did. The following morning, Morgan was brutally stabbed and stomped to death in his hotel room. According to documents obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, someone had stomped on his throat, crushing his larynx. He had also suffered several stab wounds.
Authorities soon focused on Alphonso Washington, another hotel guest. Washington, who had a long criminal rap sheet and was once homeless, had been staying at the property for at least two months prior to the incident.
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According to the arrest report, surveillance video shows Washington and Morgan walking around the hotel grounds. Police believe that the men entered Morgan's room together. Washington is later seen on tape leaving the room with a bag in his hands. A housekeeper said that she overheard an argument between the two men, and recognized one of the voices as Washington's.
Authorities interviewed Washington's hotel roommate, who said he saw Washington wash his clothes in the sink before leaving the room with an iPad that the roommate had never seen before. By the bathroom sink, cops found a white face mask with 'Martha's Vineyard' printed on it.
Authorities arrested Washington and charged him with murder. He is being held without bond. He has not yet entered a plea and court records do not reflect an attorney authorized to speak on his behalf.
While cops have not disclosed a motive in the killing, Morgan's wife tells the South Florida Sun Sentinel that her husband had spent time with Washington during the hotel stay.
"My husband is so friendly and such a regular guy," Jackie Morgan told the newspaper, "and we live in a community where you say hello to somebody and they say hello back. They befriended each other."
Now, the family is mourning his death — and hoping for answers.
"I want justice for my husband," Jackie Morgan told he newspaper. "They snuffed his life out."
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