Attorney questions murder indictment

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Morgan Lynn McDonald

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Monday, July 17, 2017

A de­fense at­tor­ney for a Cam­den County woman charged with first-de­gree mur­der in the stabbing death of another woman is con­test­ing the grand jury in­dict­ment charg­ing her client with that of­fense.

Morgan Lynn McDonald, 19, of the 100 block of Camden Drive, is accused of stabbing Elizabeth City resident Summer Faith Waaga, 18, to death on March 13, 2016. A Pasquotank County grand jury handed down a first-degree indictment against Morgan on April 4, 2016.

But in papers filed in Pasquotank Superior Court, McDonald’s attorney, Chrissy Simmons of Nags Head, is asking a judge to dismiss the charge of first-degree murder in the case. Simmons claims the indictment is defective because the District Attorney’s Office failed to allege every element essential to obtaining an indictment for first-degree murder.

According to her filing, Simmons claims the indictment doesn’t allege McDonald acted with any prior thought or planning. She also claims the indictment fails to allege that Waaga was killed during the commission of another dangerous felony.

Court officials said Simmons filed her motion to dismiss the first-degree murder charge on Dec. 13. The motion remains pending, along with a list of additional defense pre-trial requests in the case.

Superior Court Judge J.C. Cole, meanwhile, continued the case against McDonald on June 5. He set another administrative hearing in the case for Aug. 8.

McDonald remains jailed without bond. 

Attempts to obtain updates about the case from District Attorney Andrew Womble were unsuccessful. Womble said in a May 26 email that his office was trying to schedule a trial in the case for the week of Oct. 30.

Simmons could not be reached.

Police allege in court documents that McDonald stabbed Waaga to death at a house in the 100 block of Butlers Lane the morning of March 13, 2016.

Wyatt Dail, a man who was in the house when Waaga was stabbed, told police he and Waaga had stayed at the house the night before. Around 11 a.m. the next morning, they were awakened by a knock on the door.

Dail told police that after McDonald entered the house, he saw Waaga head toward a back room. Dail said McDonald confronted him about not picking her up the night before so they could hang out together. Dail said he then saw McDonald head toward the back room where Waaga was.

Dail said he heard a verbal exchange and then a loud commotion in the back room. As he got up to see what was going on, he said Waaga ran past him, crying, “Help me!”

According to court documents, emergency medical personnel found Waaga in the front yard of the house, bleeding from stab wounds. She died not long afterward at Sentara Albemarle Medical Center.

An autopsy report states Waaga was stabbed with a pocket knife and died from a stab wound to her right upper chest. She also had stab wounds to her right upper neck and to her body, according to the report.