Defendant in Officers’ Bomb Deaths Threatened Him, In-Law Testifies
The brother-in-law of North Hollywood makeup artist Donald Lee Morse, accused of murder in the deaths of two policemen who were attempting to defuse a bomb at his house, testified Friday that Morse threatened to have him blown up two weeks before the fatal blast.
William H. Enoch, 35, of Orlando, Fla., said Morse telephoned him Jan. 24 to discuss Enoch’s strained marriage to Morse’s sister, Ernestine. Enoch said his wife had left him last September and took their three children with her to California, prompting a custody battle.
The telephone conversation turned sour, Enoch testified, after Morse demanded that Enoch send money to Los Angeles to support his wife and children.
“I have connections in Orlando,” Enoch quoted Morse as saying. “I can make your life miserable. I can have you blown up in your car.”
The testimony, which came at Morse’s preliminary hearing in Los Angeles Municipal Court, was the first evidence presented by the prosecution that would provide any explanation of why Morse, 37, had two pipe bombs in the garage of his home.
Police on Feb. 8 discovered the bombs while searching Morse’s residence for a gun that they believed was used in the Feb. 4 wounding of an official for the makeup artists union to which Morse belonged. Morse has not been charged in that assault but remains under investigation, police said.
Los Angeles police demolitions experts Arleigh McCree, 46, and Ronald Ball, 43, were killed when one of the bombs exploded as they were attempting to defuse it.
When the bombs were discovered in the search, Morse told police that he had never seen them before and did not know why they were in his garage, investigators testified. The defense is expected to argue that someone planted the explosives in Morse’s home.
On cross-examination by defense attorney Pierpont M. Laidley, Enoch was repeatedly questioned about his own knowledge of electrical wiring. Enoch replied that he studied electrical engineering in college and in the military and now works in the production department of a Florida television station.
The preliminary hearing is expected to conclude Monday, at which time Judge Xenophon F. Lang will decide whether the prosecution has presented sufficient evidence to hold Morse for trial.
Morse is charged with two counts of murder and two counts of possessing explosives and could face the death penalty if convicted.