Last summer Allen Wayne Morgan was arrested after he met with an undercover FBI agent posing as a KKK hit-man in an Oxford, Alabama Econo Lodge and attempted to hire him to kill his black neighbor. He told the agent, “I want this man hung from a tree like he is an animal. I want his penis cut off and I want him cut. You’re a hunting man right? I want him hung from a tree and gutted.”
Morgan said that the neighbor had raped his wife and that he had already confronted him once, firing several shots in his direction but that he had not wanted to kill him at the time because there were too many witnesses. His plan this time he explained was to check himself into the V.A. hospital in order to have an air-tight alibi at the time the man was killed.
After his arrest he confessed but claimed that he was suffering from PTSD as a veteran of 175 missions in Iraq and said that he also suffered from depression. His attorney says that due to his diminished mental capacity he should not have to serve the 10 year sentence that the prosecutor is seeking and that he should serve no more than five years.
U.S. District Judge Karon Bowdre who had been scheduled to sentence Morgan last Thursday has delayed sentencing for at least a month to allow the government time to review a report from an expert submitted by the defense yesterday.
Sadly, this did not have to be the path taken by Morgan, he could have had a successful career as a musician but that is all behind him now.
In 2012 the Birmingham News profiled Morgan and two other veterans who had formed a band after meeting at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center where they were undergoing treatment for PTSD and depression. At that time they spoke of how therapeutic the music was giving them an avenue to vent the feelings that were pent up inside after their war experiences.
Morgan told the interviewer that he had resisted the idea of playing with strangers at the V.A. at first, saying that although he had been involved in the local music scene prior to Iraq he didn’t think that this was the best way to get back into it. He said that after hearing Jason “Jay-Bo” Hallman and Joe Gillentine expressing their pain and torment through the music one day he changed his mind, borrowed a guitar from someone at the hospital and joined them.
The three decided to form a band and chose the name Hellmand Project for the Helmand province in Afghanistan, a particularly challenging region where the Taliban grows much of the opium poppies which fuel their drug trade. The added the extra “L” because the area was a special kind of hell.
At the time of the interview the band had performed for several veterans groups and was scheduled to play a local bar later in the month. They had also been granted a free recording session at a local studio.
Morgan said at the time that he still rarely left his house and that when someone dropped in unexpectedly, “I usually pull out a gun and run them off.”
It is a shame that when he became angry with his neighbor he didn’t pick up his guitar and purge his anger through his music, if he had he could continue to make music with his friends, now he has little to look forward to for the next several years.
The video below shows just how much promise the Hellmand Project had.
h/t: Raw Story