Delayed Telling Police for 2 Months : Bomb Trial Witness Cites Threat

Times Staff Writer

A key prosecution witness acknowledged Wednesday that he was seeking police help in gaining custody of his children when he reported a bomb threat from a North Hollywood man accused of building a pipe bomb that killed two Los Angeles police officers.

The witness, William H. Enoch, buttressed the prosecution’s case by testifying that defendant Donald Lee Morse threatened to blow him up two weeks before the officers were killed while defusing a bomb found in Morse’s garage.

Police witnesses have quoted Morse, who has not yet testified or indicated through his attorney what his defense will be, as saying that he never saw the bomb before police searched his Vanscoy Avenue house.

However, during cross-examination by defense attorney Bernard J. Rosen, Enoch--Morse’s brother-in-law--admitted that he waited two months before telling police about the bomb threat and that he went to the North Hollywood station seeking help in a custody fight.


Currying Favor

Rosen’s questioning seemed to suggest that Morse might have invented the bomb threat to curry favor with the police.

The 39-year-old Morse is charged with two counts of murder and two counts of possessing explosives in the Feb. 8, 1986, deaths of Detective Arleigh McCree, 46, then commander of the department’s bomb squad, and Officer Ronald Ball, 43.

If convicted in the San Fernando Superior Court case, Morse, a film and television makeup artist, could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Enoch, an Orlando, Fla., resident at the time of the bomb blast, also testified Wednesday that immediately after Morse threatened by telephone on Jan. 24, 1986, to “blow me up in my car,” he reported the threat to a co-worker and to police in Orlando and North Hollywood.

But he said he could not remember the names of the officers he talked with.

Custody Battle

Enoch, a television production assistant, said that in the months before the bomb blast, he was engaged in a cross-country legal fight with his estranged wife, Ernestine, for custody of their three children, then ages 9, 5 and 2.

Ernestine Enoch and the three children were staying at the Morse home in North Hollywood at the time of the blast.

Enoch also testified that after he reported the threat from Morse, Los Angeles police put him up at an apartment for five months so he would be available to testify at Morse’s preliminary hearing in September, 1986.

But Enoch said he got no help from police in enforcing a Florida court order granting him custody of his children.

Earlier in the trial, police witnesses testified that Morse’s fingerprints were discovered on several items surrounding the bombs and that explosive powder, batteries, tape, electrical wires and other items used to manufacture bombs were in the garage and house.

They also said that a copy of “The Anarchist Cookbook,” which describes how to make bombs, was found in the house.