GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Muskegon man accused of ordering a 2015 murder is now facing decades in prison for a drug conviction linked to water-drenched heroin found in a motel toilet and a wad of cash pulled from his pants pocket.
A federal jury this week convicted Jeremy Darnell Morton of possession with intent to distribute heroin.
Morton, who is also known as “Jiggs,’’ faces up to 30 years in prison when he returns to U.S. District Court for sentencing. A sentencing date has not been set.
He has a prior conviction for dealing crack cocaine in Muskegon County and is accused in the 2015 murder of Darnell Byrd, who was shot 13 times in a Muskegon Heights alley.
The federal heroin charge was filed earlier this year. It stems from Morton's arrest in September of 2015 at a motel in Kent County’s Byron Township as part of an investigation into three murders that occurred a few weeks earlier in Muskegon Heights.
When police arrested Morton, they pulled a wad of cash from his front pants pocket, which Morton said was a “couple thousand’’ dollars of his mother’s money. The cash seized totaled $8,380.
A search of the toilet in Morton’s motel room turned up a plastic baggie containing 14 grams of water-drenched heroin. Latent prints taken from the toilet tank cover matched Morton’s right ring finger and palm.
Morton’s trial in federal court in Kalamazoo lasted two days. Because of his prior drug conviction, Morton is facing up to 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $2 million and a minimum of six years of supervised release once he gets out of prison.
Morton, 32, also has a murder charge hanging over his head. Although he was not the gunman, investigators say he ordered the murder of Byrd, who was described as an underling in Morton’s drug business.
Morton was charged with open murder; a mistrial was declared in December of 2018 after jurors told Muskegon County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Hicks they were hopelessly deadlocked.
A decision on whether to retry Morton for open murder will not be made until after he is sentenced in federal court, Muskegon County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Maat said on Wednesday.
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