A traveling father and husband is dead after he unknowingly befriended a convicted killer who was staying in the same hotel, reports say.
What are the details of the murder?
Charles Morgan left his Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, home on Aug. 1 to visit his father and brother in West Palm Beach, Florida.
He made it all the way to a hotel in Dania Beach, Florida, where he decided to stop traveling for the night around 9:30 p.m.
There, authorities believe the 59-year-old Morgan befriended a fellow hotel guest later identified as Alphonso Washington — a convicted murderer.
Members of his family were set to pick Morgan up from the hotel the next morning, but it would apparently never happen.
According to reports, a suspect murdered Morgan by stomping on his throat and stabbing him multiple times. There were reportedly no signs of self-defense.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that authorities began investigating Washington, who was once homeless and had been staying at the hotel for at least two months before Morgan’s grisly murder.
Surveillance videos from the hotel’s property show Morgan walking with Washington on the grounds, and then later entering Morgan’s room the next morning.
Washington is later reportedly seen leaving Morgan’s room with a bag about noon on Aug. 2. According to reports, officers found Morgan on the bathroom floor with multiple cuts that afternoon.
A housekeeper told authorities that she overheard the two arguing, and Washington’s hotel roommate also told authorities that he witnessed Washington washing his clothes in the sink and left with an iPad that the roommate had reportedly never seen before.
Authorities later discovered a white mask with the words “Martha’s Vineyard” printed on it and arrested Washington for murder. He is being held in a local jail without bond.
Beneficiary of a humanitarian effort
The Sun-Sentinel reported that Washington was the beneficiary of a local humanitarian effort to get homeless people off the street in order to help tamp down the spread of the coronavirus.
In May, Fort Lauderdale handed out hotel vouchers to the homeless and needy to get them off the streets.
In July, the program ended due to a lack of funding, but racial justice and political action group New Florida Majority stepped in to cover the costs of the guests’ temporary residences.
The hotel manager told the outlet that the group stopped paying for the rooms on the same day of Morgan’s killing.
‘They befriended each other’
In a statement to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Morgan’s wife, Jackie, said that her husband told her about Washington and said that he’d made a friend.
“My husband is so friendly and such a regular guy,” she said, “and we live in a community where you say hello to somebody and they say hello back. They befriended each other.”
“I want justice for my husband,” she concluded. “They snuffed his life out.”
Lengthy criminal history
The paper noted that Washington was convicted in 1985 for killing a woman in Miami-Dade. Washington’s victim was found naked outside of a local elementary school, and died from blunt-force trauma.
Washington was convicted of murder and sentenced up to 17 years in prison. He was released in 1991 after serving just four years of his sentence.
Reports allege Washington’s latest arrest was on robbery charges.
Homeless man charged with murdering another guest in Florida hotel