Shoe print helps lead Hannibal police to suspect for convenience store heists

Adam Morrall
Posted: Apr. 28, 2014 10:38 pm Updated: May. 12, 2014 11:15 pm
Herald-Whig Staff Writer

HANNIBAL, Mo. — A detective with the Hannibal Police Department testified Monday that a shoe print found at the scene of the second of two convenience store robberies in December helped lead investigators to the man charged with first-degree robbery in both crimes.

Adam J. Morrall, 21, had his case bound over to Marion County Circuit Court after a preliminary hearing before Judge John Jackson. He will have an arraignment hearing May 5.

Morrall faces two counts of first-degree robbery after he allegedly held up two stores at knifepoint. The Casey’s General Store at 3827 Hwy. MM was robbed Dec. 4, and Abel’s Quik Shop at 2859 James Road was robbed Dec. 24. Morrall faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted on both counts.

Jacob Nacke, an HPD detective, said police acted on a tip from Lori Ward, Morrall’s mother, and obtained a search warrant for a residence in the 700 block of Clover Road. Morrall lived there with his mother and stepfather, Clyde Ward.

Investigators eventually found in the basement a black duffel bag containing $360 in a Ziploc bag and a pair of black gloves. Nacke said police also confiscated a pair of gray tennis shoes and a pair of gray sweatpants.

Nacke said a shoe print left on the counter of the Abel’s Quik Shop robbery matched the tennis shoes found at Morrall’s residence. Nacke said investigators returned to the residence five days after the original search when Clyde Ward informed them that he had found a pocketknife at the residence.

One worker from each of the convenience stores also took the stand during the hour-long hearing. Gina Higgins, a cashier at Casey’s General Store, said she was just about to lock up for the night on Dec. 4 when a man burst into the store. She said a man wearing a mask, black gloves and a hooded jacket while wielding a knife grabbed her by the arm and forced her to give him the money in the cash register.

“He said that he didn’t want to hurt anyone and just wanted the money,” Higgins said.

Higgins said the man kept asking about a box when she was getting the money out of the cash register. When she told him that there was no box, she said the man became agitated. He grabbed the money and slammed the register shut.

“I was afraid he was going to stab (her co-worker), because he was agitated,” Higgins said. “He stuffed the money in his pants and went out the door.”

Higgins could not positively identify the man who committed the robbery.

Jenifer Fraser, a cashier for Abel’s Quik Shop, testified she was working behind the counter at 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 24 when a man wearing a black ski mask and a dark puffy winter coat entered with a knife in his hand. Fraser said the man leapt on top of the counter, jumped down and grabbed her by the arm.

“He demanded all of the money out of the register,” Fraser said. “He grabbed me by my arm and pulled me over to the register.”

After she emptied one register, the man asked for the money from the other register. She told him it was empty.

Although she couldn’t positively identify the man who committed the robbery, she remembered his eyes. She said that she thought the man who committed the crime was in the courtroom on Monday.

Morrall has been lodged in the Marion County Jail on $100,000 bond since his arrest on Jan. 4.

Morrall was one of two men charged with armed robbery in a heist of the Chelsea, an adult theatre and video store at 4804 Gardner Expressway south of Quincy, on March 4, 2013. He pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and was sentenced to 36 months of probation and 360 days in the Adams County Jail.

He was charged in February with a second armed robbery of the store, which was robbed at knifepoint on Nov. 22.