WOODWARD — A former Woodward police detective was accused Thursday of repeatedly stealing methamphetamine from a police evidence room to support his then-wife's drug habit.
Former detective Michael Albert Morton, 55, was charged with 13 drug-related felony counts.
Morton told a district attorney's investigator that he stole methamphetamine from the evidence room for Christine England-Morton because he didn't want her “looking for it on the street, where it is dangerous,” according to a statement by an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent.
The thefts occurred from May 1, 2009, through March 27, 2010, prosecutors allege. The couple divorced in June 2010.
Morton faces up to life in prison because he and his then-wife were within 2000 feet of Woodward High School on some of the occasions he allegedly gave her stolen drugs. He also faces up to $120,000 in fines.
Pleaded not guilty
Morton pleaded not guilty Thursday in Woodward County District Court and was released on a personal recognizance bond.
Morton took his then-wife along with him on several of the thefts and told her he wanted to make sure the methamphetamine came from evidence that was scheduled for destruction, the OSBI agent stated. Morton reportedly showed her the location of those drugs and resealed the envelopes after removing the methamphetamine.
The scheme unraveled toward the end of their marriage when England-Morton, 45, went to the evidence room on her own during the early morning hours of March 27, 2010. She kicked open the door, ripped open evidence envelopes and stole the amphetamine inside, according to the OSBI affidavit.
When she was confronted by Woodward police officers, she told them she was looking for her husband.
A couple weeks later, she gave police a statement that she had kicked open the door of the evidence room while looking for alcohol to steal. She is currently serving a three-year sentence for injuring a public building and a four-year sentence for possession of a firearm while under the supervision of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
Morton admitted his role in the methamphetamine thefts while testifying during an unrelated 2010 federal court hearing involving a child pornographer. Morton also admitting helping his then-wife concoct the story that she was looking for alcohol rather than drugs.
OSBI agent Morgan Wilkinson said an inventory of the evidence room revealed there appeared to have been tampering with about 67 items of evidence containing methamphetamine and/or other illegal drugs.
“It appeared that the majority of the cases where drugs were taken, the drugs had been slated for destruction,” he wrote.
Morton resigned July 12, 2010.
“OSBI's investigation included a complete inventory of the evidence room, with recommendations to correct potential security problems and address protocols,” Harvey Rutherford, Woodward police chief, stated Thursday in a prepared statement. “On the basis of those proposals, policy and procedure revisions have been implemented, and the evidence room has been completely upgraded to include state-of-the-art security systems.”