David “Chilli Bean” Morgan, father of football star Jadeveon Clowney, could face as many as 70 years in state prison if convicted of Tuesday’s shooting at a Rock Hill strip club.
Gun violence, again, in a story that became national news because of the famous son who had nothing to do with the crime charged against a father who did not raise him.
No one but Morgan and his lawyers know if he might argue that he was defending himself at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday morning at a strip club.
Because Morgan is 45 and a convicted felon who spent a dozen years in prison, it’s possible that, if convicted of two counts of attempted murder, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
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All for a shooting that happened across the street from where Morgan’s son was first introduced to America in an appearance on ESPN while in high school in 2010.
Morgan has not had a chance to defend himself in the incident in which he was shot in the shoulder. Police say gunfire was exchanged between Morgan and a bouncer at the Crazy Horse.
The sign over the door of the Cherry Road club reads: “Girls Girls Girls.” Across the street is District Three Stadium. Clowney was the featured player when his South Pointe Stallions played rival Northwestern High in that nationally televised game.
After a highlight-reel career at the University of South Carolina, Clowney was the first pick in the 2014 NFL draft and has a multi-million-dollar contract to play with the Houston Texans. A few times after his release from prison, Morgan appeared publicly with Clowney.
Still, Morgan is entitled to a taxpayer-paid lawyer to defend him against the allegations the police and York County prosecutors have made.
Sixteenth Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett has declined to talk about the case other than to say Morgan will be treated “no better, no worse” than any other criminal defendant.
But the potential for severe punishment for Clowney’s father is real.
If convicted, Morgan could get 30 years in prison for each count of attempted murder, five years for possession of a weapon during a violent crime, and another five years for being a felon in possession of a weapon.
Without question, Clowney has made his family, Rock Hill and South Carolina proud. Clowney’s mother worked nights at a Charlotte snack factory to raise him. Morgan was in prison much of that time.
Clowney, in rehabilitation following knee surgery, has made no public comments since his father’s arrest. His coach has declined to talk about it except to say the team supports him.
Clowney is not his father’s keeper. Still, the arrest – and Morgan’s walking out of a bond hearing while a judge was still talking to him – remains national news.
The charges against Morgan are allegations. Nothing has been proven. But the accusations are serious enough that he is being held without bond after Rock Hill Judge Jane Modla voiced concerns about the safety of the public when a gun in the possession of a convicted felon was used in a shootout.
Real blood, real bullets and violence on Rock Hill city streets, allegedly at the hands of a convicted felon who had no business with a gun.
And taxpayers likely will now pay for all of it.
Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065