A double-murder suspect, who ultimately served five years after inking a favorable plea deal with San Francisco’s District Attorney’s office under Chesa Boudin, was sentenced this morning for more firearms offenses.
Gregory Morton III received 22 months’ imprisonment after earlier pleading guilty to being ‘a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition’ contrary to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g).
“I am a little disturbed by the fact that it was a public space where he was armed,” said U.S. District Judge James Donato of Morton’s latest arrest with a loaded gun.
“And it did happen while he was already on location monitoring.”
Morton was the getaway driver in the 2015 ‘drive-by’ murder of two unarmed teenagers near the Crocker Amazon Playground in San Francisco. Kenyatta Butler and Donzel Gaines, both 19, were shot while sitting defenseless in a car by Morton’s cousin Davante Robinson.
Morton and Robinson were sent to the playground by San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department where both worked as ‘public service trainees’ via an employment program run by San Francisco Human Services Agency.
Initially charged with two counts of first degree murder, Morton entered a plea agreement to a charge of ‘firing a weapon into an occupied vehicle’ in October 2021 – during Boudin’s term of office – which led to him being sentenced to a notional 10 years imprisonment. But, because he had served nearly six years pre-trial, he was immediately freed after his guilty plea.
Only month after being released Morton was found in possession of firearms.
He was arrested by San Francisco Sheriff’s Department at the Tanforan shopping mall in San Bruno for violating the conditions of his supervised release on March 17, 2022. In his waistband at the time of his arrest was a Glock semi-automatic pistol equipped with an extended magazine.
Only four days before this Morton had been arrested by American Canyon PD after two loaded handguns were found under the passenger seat of the rental car he was driving. He was bailed from Marin County jail almost immediately and was arrested by SFSD with another gun within days.
A federal grand jury indicted Morton on June 14, 2022 with charges relating to the March 17, 2022 incident.
“Mr Morton was in jail for five years after being involved in a shooting where two people died,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Kassabian, asking the court to impose a 30 month sentence.
“He was released and he was arrested again for having two firearms within a month of that. And, undeterred, while wearing an ankle monitor, was found armed again.”
Deputy Federal Public Defender Candis Mitchell, requesting a 20 month sentence, explained to the court that her client suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and hyperawareness of threats he felt he faced in public which led him to carry firearms.
“This is his first serious time in federal court where the stakes are this high,” she said, making clear that Morton fully appreciated that he could not do so again.
Asking for a 34 month sentence, federal probation officer Denise Mancia, referred to the defendant already being on electronic monitoring when he was arrested again.
“34 months is too long,” said Judge Donato. “I think in this situation I am persuaded and willing to bank on the representations of Ms Mitchell and Mr Morton.”
“Mr Morton will be remanded to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons for 22 months followed by three years of supervised release.”
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