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Detainee accused of beating another in Pinellas jail van now charged with murder

LARGO — Prosecutors have upgraded charges against a St. Pete Beach man accused of severely beating another detainee inside a jail transport van. The victim died this month.

On July 6, Thomas Morrow, 59, was put in protective custody under the state Marchman Act and placed in the transport van. That same night, Leonard David Lanni, 37, was picked up on a charge of disorderly conduct.

The van driver glanced at the live monitor that displays the passenger compartment of the van and noticed that Morrow had fallen from the bench. Lanni then began to kick him, authorities said. The driver pulled into a parking lot and asked two deputies to restrain Lanni.

Lanni was originally charged with aggravated battery in connection with Morrow's beating. Last month, the charge was upgraded to second-degree attempted murder.

Morrow never recovered from his injuries, and remained bed-ridden at Kindred Hospital in St. Petersburg, where he died Sept. 12.

On Friday, the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office upgraded Lanni's attempted murder charge to second-degree murder. He is also still charged with disorderly conduct.

He remained at the Pinellas County jail Monday.

Detainee accused of beating another in Pinellas jail van now charged with murder 09/23/13 [Last modified: Monday, September 23, 2013 6:20pm]
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