Lawyers split over Rock Hill dad's sentence. Did tie to Jadeveon Clowney play a role?

Clowney dad sentenced for role in Rock Hill bar shooting

David Morgan, the father of NFL star and Rock Hill native Jadaveon Clowney, was sentenced to a year in prison Monday for his role in a 2015 bar shooting.
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David Morgan, the father of NFL star and Rock Hill native Jadaveon Clowney, was sentenced to a year in prison Monday for his role in a 2015 bar shooting.

David Morgan was sentenced to one year in prison Monday for a 2015 shooting at a Rock Hill strip club.

Morgan's lawyer claimed prosecutors sought a harsher-than-normal sentence because Morgan is the father of Jadeveon Clowney. Prosecutors denied they treated Morgan, who shot at a strip club manager and an employee, any different than other defendants.

Clowney, a Rock Hill native who plays for the NFL Houston Texans and was a star at the University of South Carolina, was not in court.

Morgan, 47, nickanmed "Chilli Bean," was sentenced more than a year after he had pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and possession of a weapon by a felon. Morgan previously had spent 12 years in prison.

Morgan also faces five years of probation after his release from prison. If he fails to satisfy those requirements, Morgan, would potentially have to serve the 20-year sentence suspended by the judge.

Prosecutors asked that Morgan be sentenced to eight to 10 years in prison. Morgan's lawyers asked for probation.

Visiting Judge Jocelyn Newman sentenced Morgan to three years in prison while suspending most of a 20-year prison term, but gave Morgan credit for two years while out on bond under electronic monitoring.

As part of a plea deal, attempted murder charges were dropped.

The victims in the August 2015 shooting were not hurt, but court testimony showed Morgan shot at Braxton Homesley and female employee Cristina Carter after being kicked out of the Crazy Horse strip club.

Todd Rutherford of Columbia, Morgan's lawyer and a member of the S.C. House of Representatives, said in court and after the sentencing that notoriety around Morgan's case pushed prosecutors to seek a long prison term in a situation where no one was wounded.

"But for my client's famous son, we would have resolved this already," Rutherford said.

But Jenny Desch, 16th Circuit assistant solicitor, denied that Clowney had anything to do with the case.

It was Morgan, a convicted felon barred from having a gun, who fired at people who were "lucky not to be shot" outside the club, Desch said.

Desch said after court Morgan's criminal record, admission of having problems with anger and alcohol, and the fact that there was the potential for injuries or deaths in the incident were the reasons she asked Morgan to get as much as 10 years in prison.

"I handled this case as I would any other case, in a professional way seeking justice for the victims," Desch said after court. "I didn't bring up Mr. Morgan's son. Mr. Rutherford did."

Morgan was shot in the shoulder during the shootout but court testimony showed Morgan shot first. Morgan had been kicked out of the club in June 2015 for sitting on the stage. He then left and came back with a gun.

Morgan apologized in court, saying he "made a mistake."

"I did 12 years," Morgan said of his past prison sentence for burglary. "I'm sorry this incident happened. I ain't been in no trouble since...I'm a good man."

Morgan acknowledged in court having trouble with anger and alcohol.

Homesley, the former manager at the Crazy Horse in Rock Hill, said in court that he is fearful of retribution from Morgan.

Judge Newman also ordered a permanent restraining order for Morgan to stay away from the victims in the case.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald