Authorities are actively searching for 23-year-old Darnell Morgan who failed to show up for his Nov. 2 sentencing at the Stark County District Court on multiple felonies including, possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver, possession of a firearm, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a short-barreled shotgun and conspiracy to commit child endangerment.
Morgan, who was scheduled to appear for a sentencing hearing on Monday was facing a significant time in the North Dakota Department of Corrections related to the crimes stemming from a 2019 arrest. He but did not appear and a bench warrant for his arrest was issued by Judge William Herauf and the signed warrant went into effect Wednesday morning with instructions for any sheriff, constable, marshal or policeman in North Dakota or any other state to bring Morgan before the court.
In January, Morgan pleaded not guilty on all charges before changing his plea on July 20.
Sometimes the court will issue a warrant with no-bond, Lt. Eldon Mehrer of the Stark County Sheriff’s Office said, explaining that the individual would sit in jail with no bond until they’re able to see the judge. In some cases, there is a bond so the court would issue a $500 bond, for example, to promise to show up at the next court date, he added.
“With what happens is obviously the court issues a warrant for arrest and we make that known to our officers. That information is also entered into NCIC [National Crime Information Center] and into CWIS [Criminal Warrants Information System]. CWIS is a state-wide database and NCIC is a nation-wide database, and so [if] law enforcement officers — through the course of their normal patrol — if they would encounter an individual that has an active warrant and it’s been entered into either of these two systems, they would automatically get a hit [or] be notified,” Mehrer said. “And then… there’s a sort of check and balances. We would verify that the warrant is still active with the originating agency, and if it is then that person would be arrested, taken to jail depending on what the warrant is.”
Assistant State’s Attorney Amanda Engelstad said Morgan was originally held on a $50,000 cash bond and was incarcerated at the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center until Aug. 10, at which point his bond conditions were amended and he was released with the promise to appear in court.
“In bigger cases like this, it can sometimes be bifurcated so you might have a change of plea where the individual enters their plea of guilty and then there’s a gap until the sentencing hearing,” Engelstad said.
If you have information about the whereabouts of Morgan, contact the Stark County Sheriff’s Office at 701-456-7610, or by texting the Badlands Crime Stoppers at 701-840-6108 or calling 701-456-7754.