Crime & Courts

Jadeveon Clowney’s father charged with attempted murder in Rock Hill

Andrew Dys, The Herald

The father of NFL player Jadeveon Clowney is in jail on attempted murder charges after allegedly firing shots outside a Rock Hill strip club Tuesday morning, Rock Hill police said.

David Morgan, 45, nicknamed “Chilli Bean,” is a convicted felon who spent several years in prison while his son was a teen football star in Rock Hill and has past convictions ranging from assault and battery to burglary in several run-ins with the law that began at age 17.

Morgan allegedly fired several shots at an employee of the Crazy Horse Showclub after Morgan had been removed from sitting on the stage, a Rock Hill Police Department report states. The victim told police he saw Morgan standing by a wall near the back of the property around 2:15 a.m. Tuesday and then Morgan fired several shots at him after Morgan dipped into a crouch, according to the report.

The employee told police he returned fire in retaliation after Morgan shot at him. The Crazy Horse is Rock Hill’s only adult entertainment club.

Police found Morgan at Piedmont Medical Center with a gunshot wound in the shoulder, the report states. Morgan was charged with attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime and is scheduled to be in court for a bond hearing at 8 a.m Wednesday, court officials said.

At that hearing Morgan will be screened for a public defender. It is unclear if Morgan is employed.

Clowney is on the inactive list for the Houston Texans after microfracture knee surgery but his team has said it expects him back this season. The football star was the number one pick in the 2014 NFL draft after a standout career at the University of South Carolina and South Pointe High School in Rock Hill.

Clowney’s mother and grandfather both said Clowney was told early Tuesday of his father’s arrest, and he is “highly upset.”

A Rock Hill native, Clowney is one of the most well-known sports figures in America, and his rehabilitation from knee surgery has been well-covered by the sports media but his father’s arrest puts an unwanted and unwarranted spotlight on Clowney as he tries to make his mark in the NFL, family said.

When Clowney was a child, his mother worked long hours at Charlotte’s Frito-Lay plant while Morgan was spending a dozen years in prison. But after release from prison - especially during the high-profile recruitment of Clowney by hundreds of major colleges - Morgan sometimes appeared with his son and was there at South Pointe school the day Clowney chose the University of South Carolina.

Attempts to reach Clowney through his agent, James “Bus” Cook, were unsuccessful.

York County prosecutors were told Tuesday morning of the charges against Morgan but declined comment on the specifics of the case. However, prosecutors reiterated that Morgan will be treated no differently than any other defendant and that Morgan like all defendants is presumed innocent unless the charges against him are proven.

Attempted murder carries as much as 30 years in prison. Weapons charges carry up to five years.

“He will be treated the same as any defendant charged with a crime in York County criminal court,” said Kevin Brackett, 16th Circuit Solicitor.

Police recovered two guns from the scene.

Because Morgan is a convicted felon, he is barred by both state and federal law from possessing a gun. Federal punishments for gun violations can be as much as 10 years in prison.

Morgan was sentenced to 15 years in prison after convictions for burglary and other crimes in 1995. Morgan has a criminal record that dates back to 1987 that includes convictions for trespassing, damage to property, resisting arrest, grand larceny, and other crimes, state records show.

He has been charged with two traffic offenses since his release from prison but no felonies, according to State Law Enforcement Division records. In April in Fort Mill magistrate court Morgan was fined after he was convicted for driving too fast for conditions.

Morgan was charged by Orlando, Fla. police with trespassing, resisting an officer and disorderly conduct in January 2012 when Clowney and the Gamecocks were playing in a bowl game, according to Florida online court records. In that case Morgan claimed to be indigent with an income of $700 every two weeks and asked for a public defender before he was released on bond, records show.

Those Florida charges were later dismissed, court records show.

It is unclear if Morgan was employed at the time of his arrest Tuesday. After his release from prison, Morgan worked for two stretches for Comer Distributing, a Rock Hill beverage company, said Chip Comer, president of the company. Morgan worked in the warehouse but had to be let go twice after the company gave him two chances to work, Comer said.

“We gave him two shots at it, but it just didn’t work out,” Comer said.

Comer said Morgan is “overall, a nice person,” but could not keep his responsibilities at the warehouse.

“I wish he could learn to do better,” Comer said.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065