Thursday, January 18, 2018
Public safety

St. Pete man arrested on murder solicitation charge

ST. PETERSBURG — The 67-year-old man wanted someone dead, but first needed an alibi.

So, authorities said, Robert Michael Morgan hired a hit man.

Morgan, who lives in the Silver Lake Mobile Home Resort at 4000 24th St. N., planned to be visiting his brother in St. Louis when the proposed slaying happened, according to a Florida Highway Patrol arrest affidavit. He made the deal on July 13.

Authorities did not say Saturday who Morgan wanted to kill or why. Nor did they say who he hired or tried to hire.

He was arrested Friday on a felony charge of solicitation of murder, troopers said. Morgan, who turns 68 today, remained in the Pinellas County Jail Saturday without bail. His arrest affidavit lists his occupation as retired.

His next-door neighbor, George Masterton, 71, said he saw three Florida Highway Patrol cars stop in front of Morgan's mobile home on Friday night. Neighbors said Morgan lived with two people in the 55-and-over park. No one answered his door Saturday night.

"I talked to two people from the Highway Patrol and asked, 'Did you get him?'" said Masterton, "and they said, 'Yeah. We got him.'"

Masterton said his neighbor, who he did not know by name, got into fights often on their RV-clustered street.

"I saw him yell at a guy on a motorcycle," he said. "He said, 'I'm going to beat your head in.'"

Another neighbor, 59-year-old Shirley Hooper, said the allegations made her uncomfortable.

"It just feels weird," Hooper said. "I didn't know him past 'hi' and 'bye.' I can't believe someone would do that right next door to me."

Danielle Paquette can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8321.

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