what is it about the Quartermaster?

This place had not one, but TWO of their employees dismember their SO’s – gruesome stuff

Man convicted of murdering girlfriend in mummy case
by Gwen Filosa, The Times-Picayune
Wednesday July 29, 2009, 8:25 PM

John Morgan, convicted Wednesday of the 2002 murder of his gilrfriend, whose mummified remains were found in a trunk in a New Orleans apartment

John Morgan murdered his girlfriend in his French Quarter apartment before storing her mummified corpse in a wooden trunk he kept for three years, moving it to his new apartment with his new girlfriend, an Orleans Parish jury concluded Wednesday.

Only Hurricane Katrina, which hit Aug. 29, 2005, helped bring to light the skeletal remains of Dana “Polly” Pastori, 39, a Bourbon Street waitress who disappeared in 2002 after telling friends she was leaving her adopted hometown of New Orleans for good.

The trunk, still reeking of death, was discovered Oct. 21, 2005, by a landlord cleaning out the apartment at 939 Elysian Fields Ave. that Morgan left after receiving a $2,000 hurricane relief check from FEMA.

Morgan was born John Roberson, but went by John Henry Morgan — like the pirate and rum brand — while in New Orleans. Prosecutors called him Morgan, the name under which he is listed in jail.

Approached by detectives in 2008, Morgan granted a videotaped interview in which he admitted to keeping Pastori’s body but denied killing her — and said he never thought about calling police. He was promptly arrested and sent to Orleans Parish Prison to await trial.

Pastori was strangled with the cord of her curling iron, according to the coroner’s office. “He thought she would wind up in a river or the swamp, ” Assistant District Attorney Francesca Bridges told jurors. “She was a thing that he had in his apartment that was decomposing. A thing that he was trying to forget was his girlfriend.”

Morgan had moved the trunk in 2004 from his French Quarter apartment at 735 Ursulines Ave. to his new place on Elysian Fields.

At the Ursulines Avenue apartment, the landlord in 2005 found a blood-stained carpet rolled up and stored in a crawl space.

Morgan, 42, and lanky at 6-foot-3, trimmed his hair and beard for the three-day trial at Criminal District Court but chose not to testify or have his public defenders make a closing argument before the jury retired to deliberate.

But prosecutors had the videotaped interview of Morgan calmly and frankly explaining how he tore apart his dead girlfriend in order to store her inside a trunk. “We do have a witness, ” Bridges said. “The best witness: the defendant.”

The jury of nine men and three women deliberated for about 40 minutes before unanimously finding Morgan guilty of second-degree murder. The verdict carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

Morgan said nothing as he was taken away. Judge Julian Parker dismissed the jurors, after giving each a “lifetime” excuse from jury duty. They had seen things this week they probably never had before, Parker said — including a graphic description of how Pastori was dismembered.

Pastori’s parents, Peter Surette, of South Carolina, and Frances Cela, of Dayton, Ohio, left the courthouse crying tears of relief and regret. “Thank you, ” Surette told several jurors after the trial, shaking their hands. “She was my daughter.”

A retired police chief from the Charleston area, Surette said he sat through plenty of murder trials during his 32-year career. But he never imagined he would ever attend the trial of his daughter’s killer, seven years after he last heard from her.

One piece of evidence shattered Surette’s composure Wednesday: the Lake City Police Department T-shirt his daughter wore during her last moments. “I lost it, ” he said. “She was murdered in my T-shirt?”

Pastori’s parents both said they instantly disliked Morgan when they met him. They said they questioned their daughter’s choices in life, but never her character or intentions.

“Dana was a beautiful girl, and smart, ” Cela said. “She has two beautiful daughters, both starting college.”

They recalled Morgan as a boastful man with a sketchy past. They said they will never understand why their daughter stayed with him for several years, living with him in the Quarter and working with him at the Quartermaster Deli.

When she entered the courtroom Monday, Cela said Morgan greeted her with both a smile and a thumbs-up. “That’s why there is a hell, ” she said.

The jury, along with Pastori’s parents, on Wednesday watched a 2008 videotaped interview of Morgan by police.

Morgan said he knew in 2002 that his girlfriend had been killed by a drug dealer, who told him to get a trunk in which to store the body. When the corpse would not fit, Morgan said he had to tear parts of her body off. “Disarticulation” is what the coroner’s office called it.

Morgan never explained why he kept the body, why he never called police or why he did not tell anyone what had happened. He laughed at times during the videotaped interview, and also told the detectives how grateful he was that they were “courteous” to him. “Now is the time to be a man and step up to the plate, ” one detective told him.
But Morgan denied that he harmed Pastori, spinning a tale of how a drug dealer named Pepper told him he was going to kill Pastori for ratting him out to the cops.

Public defenders Don Donnelly and Suzanne LeVert called no witnesses to the stand and chose not to make a closing argument.

Without an eyewitness to the murder or a straight-up confession by Morgan, prosecutors argued that his videotaped statement matched the testimony of both his former landlords, who recalled at trial seeing Morgan with the strange, stinking trunk.

Since Morgan told police that he knew people were coming to “harm” Pastori, he certainly participated in her demise, Bridges said.

As for motive, prosecutors also turned to Morgan’s own statement.

” ‘She told me she was sick of me, sick of New Orleans and sick of the Quartermaster, ‘ ” Bridges said. “And that was his life. He wasn’t going to let her walk out. And he didn’t. Their relationship went bad, and the day she decided that relationship wasn’t going forward was the day her life ended.”

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~ by maringouin on Friday, July 31, 2009.

 
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