United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Smith Camp Chief United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on the Findings and
Recommendation, ECF No. 78, issued by Magistrate Judge Thomas
D. Thalken recommending that the Motion to Suppress, ECF No.
46, filed by the Defendant, Jeron Morris
(“Defendant”), be denied. Defendant filed an
Objection to the Findings and Recommendation and a brief in
support, ECF Nos. 84 and 85, as allowed by 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(C) and NECrimR 59.2(a). The Government responded to
Defendant's Objection, ECF No. 88, directing the Court to
its previous briefing on the matter. For the reasons set
forth below, the Findings and Recommendation will be adopted,
and the Motion to Suppress will be denied.
is charged in the Indictment, ECF No. 1, along with
co-defendant Preston Pope (“Pope”). Defendant is
charged with affecting interstate commerce by means of
robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 1951 (Count
I); brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of
violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 924(c)
(Count II); bank robbery by force, violence, and intimidation
in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 2113(a) (Count
III); brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence in
violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 924(c) (Count IV); and
possession of a weapon after having been convicted of a
felony in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) (Count VI).
does not object to the Magistrate Judge's findings of
fact and the Court adopts and incorporates those findings
into this Memorandum and Order. The Court provides the
following by way of summary:
August 11, 2015, at around 12:45 a.m., two black males
arrived in a white Buick and robbed the Walgreens located at
3001 Dodge Street in Omaha, Nebraska, at gunpoint. Later, on
August 11, 2015, at around 5:45 p.m., two males robbed a U.S.
Bank located inside the No Frills grocery store at 4240 South
50th Street in Omaha. One of the suspects ordered a bank
teller to place money into a bag, while the other suspect
pointed a gun at the tellers and customers in the bank.
Following the robbery, the two suspects drove away in a white
white Buick LeSabre was later found and witnesses told law
enforcement they observed two black males get out of the
white Buick and enter a green SUV or minivan. On August 14,
2015, Omaha Police Department (“OPD”) officers
located a green minivan driven by Pope who was subsequently
arrested and detained. Following Pope's arrest, OPD
officers searched the house of Pope's half-brother and
found evidence of a firearm and located a white Ford
Expedition with paper license plates parked in the driveway.
One of the bait bills from the U.S. Bank robbery was used in
the purchase of the Ford Expedition.
developed Defendant as the other suspect in the robberies and
issued a “locate bulletin” for Defendant. On
September 27, 2015, Officer Jacob Pursell (“Officer
Pursell”) received a dispatch regarding Defendant. The
dispatch advised that an anonymous caller recognized
Defendant from a Crime Stoppers broadcast and that the
Defendant was located at the Flashbacks bar at 3013 South
83rd Plaza, Omaha, Nebraska. The caller added that Defendant
arrived in a white Ford Expedition with a partial license
plate number of “SYL” and that Defendant was
armed with a firearm.
Pursell drove to Flashbacks and was joined by Officer Adam
Fisher (“Officer Fisher”). The officers located
the Ford Expedition parked in the parking lot and parked
their cruisers near it. The officers performed computer data
checks on the vehicle and Defendant. The check revealed that
the license plate on the Ford Expedition was stolen out of
Bellevue, Nebraska, and the VIN number of the Ford Expedition
was registered to a U-Win Auto Sales. The data check for
Defendant revealed the locate bulletin and a photo of
Defendant. Other uniformed officers arrived on scene and
additional cruisers were placed at the various Flashbacks
Fisher alerted the other officers that he saw Defendant
exiting Flashbacks. Sergeant Sheridan approached Defendant
and called to him. After seeing officers, Defendant fled the
area on foot. Officer Pursell pursued Defendant several
blocks and continued through another parking lot where
Defendant ran up a flight of stairs and disappeared from
Officer Pursell's sight. Officer Pursell drew his firearm
and ran up the stairs where he discovered Defendant lying
prone on the concrete. Officer Pursell held Defendant at
gunpoint until other officers arrived.
was taken back to the Flashbacks parking lot. No weapon was
found on Defendant or near his path of flight. Sergeant
Sheridan called Sergeant Steven Fornoff (“Sergeant
Fornoff”), who was aware of the armed robberies at the
Walgreens store and the U.S. Bank. When informed of
Defendant's detention and the location of the white Ford
Expedition bearing stolen plates, Sergeant Fornoff requested
the vehicle be towed to the OPD Impound Lot, and that an
inventory search of the vehicle be conducted. At the
evidentiary hearing, when asked to describe his reasoning for
the inventory search and tow, Sergeant Fornoff responded to
the following questions: Q. What was your reason for asking
him to conduct an inventory search?
A. I had concerns that there would be evidence inside the
vehicle linking him to the robberies that I mentioned prior.
Q. At that point you also had the report of the stolen plates