On June 12, 2002, local pharmacist Doug Smith, 60, was
murdered. A missing persons report was filed, and the
Sheriff’s Department asked for help in locating him.
His body was found (several days later) in a parking
lot near the drug store, placed in the rear seat of
his SUV, shot twice.
In April, 2004, 48 year-old Tab Morgan, a drug addict,
was arrested for 1st degree murder as he was being
released from jail after serving time for a drug charge.
He was a suspect because Doug was set to testify
against him on another drug charge, a prescription
fraud case. Doug had become suspicious of Morgan,
when he had submitted prescriptions from several
doctors for Oxycontin.
Morgan’s trial began this week. I agreed with the
majority of other locals who believed that Morgan
would be convicted swiftly and given the death penalty.
The lead story on last night’s newscast was, “Verdict
reached in murder trial.” When they mentioned in the
teaser that the verdict had come after only about 3
hours of deliberation, I knew that Morgan was headed
for an injection. It would not be a flu shot.
Earlier in the week, the local TV station had broadcast
portions of the trial, including the testimony of a former
female “associate” of Morgan’s, Sonya Stiwinter. Although
she testified that she heard two gunshots as Morgan
confronted Doug that night she also admitted that she and
Morgan had just smoked crack and she didn’t remember
everything that went on. She was not a very credible
Admittedly still a crack addict and promised leniency on
a pending drug charge in Florida, she looked every bit the
part of a hard-core druggie. She had an 80-year old face
placed on a 40-something body. Sores covered her face, arms
and lips. She appeared to not know exactly where she was or
why. But she was the best the DA could come up with.
Morgan was acquitted, and walked from the courthouse a free
man. With any luck, he’ll succumb to his addictions soon.