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1/27/2012 6:01:00 AM
Escapee's wife hid handcuff keys in Kingman courtroom
Escapee probably picked key up during previous appearance, investigators say

Erin Taylor
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Investigators said the wife of an escaped inmate who has since been recaptured left handcuff keys under chairs in the courtroom one month prior to the escape.

Mohave County Sheriff's Spokeswoman Trish Carter said receipts seized from 24-year-old Ashley Morrison's apartment showed that she purchased four sets of handcuff keys online Nov. 28.

While reviewing jail conversations between Ashley and her husband, Darren Morrison, detectives noted one particular communication where Darren told his wife to "put the gift on the right side of the seat."

Carter said that statement prompted security at the Mohave County Superior Courthouse to search their courtrooms on Wednesday. She said three sets of handcuff keys were found between the cushions and armrest of multiple chairs in the jury box.

Juries are not present during routine status hearings and corrections officers seat inmates in the jury box as defendants wait for their individual hearing.

Visitors have to pass through security at the entrance of the courthouse but the individual courtroomsare unlocked and sometimes unoccupied between hearings and during the lunch hour.

Darren Morrison was booked into the Mohave County Jail on aggravated assault charges on Nov. 3. The online purchase of the four sets of handcuff keys were made on Nov. 28. The conversation between Darren and Ashley occurred on Dec. 12.

Darren Morrison had hearings in Judge Derek Carlisle's courtroom on Dec. 14 and Dec. 16. It is believed he found one of the sets of keys during one of those hearings, then waited until the day of his Jan. 18 hearing to attempt his escape.

Three handcuff keys have been recovered and placed into evidence, leaving only the set used by Morrison unaccounted for.

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• Stand by your man? Kingman woman has had enough of that
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• Darren Morrison back in court; security increased
• Mohave County Jail inmate camped in desert while on the run
• Kingman escapee back in custody
• Mohave County Jail inmate escapes outside Kingman courthouse

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, January 30, 2012
Article comment by: V Stokes

I've known for 30 years or more the keys are all the same. Probably learned it from a TV show or some magazine.

I also know you shouldn't assault your wife or get arrested and that didn't require a TV show or magazine.

Posted: Monday, January 30, 2012
Article comment by: no way

@ Lets Vote

I don't think people get up in the mornings and make a point of knowing whether handcuff keys are common and regularly bought. At least not in my group of friends I can't recall the topic ever coming up. So in answer to your question, most don't pay attention.

Posted: Sunday, January 29, 2012
Article comment by: Lets Vote

How many people dont know handcuff keys are all the same and can be bought very easiiy?

Only been this way for ummm...Decades.

Doesnt anyone pay attention to anything anymore?

Oh and real Criminals dont need a key. A well bent large paper clip works just fine.

Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012
Article comment by: Ernest Matthews

Such a simple plan and it worked. I bet they are checking the seats in every courtroom in the country. I will give them credit for originality, but they didn't put much thought into the getaway. I amagine even the law enforcement officers are lost for words. They are both young, and hopfully can turn their lifes around.

Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012
Article comment by: Frazzeled by complainers

To: shoulda been a bomb, Daddy Ray and KDM Serious??

Haven't you heard? That's what options and free will are all about.
Simple, -if you don't like it, don't read it! Go back to your comic books.

Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012
Article comment by: Alicia C.

I like how this story was run twice now. I feel like I've known these idiots my whole life, and we go way back since it's all that's been reported on for a week now.

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Article comment by: amazed woman

Who is watching the store?Why in the world do they make it possable for anyone but law enfocement to be able to get these keys?I can understand the reason for each department to have same key.If emergancy happens you dont have time to find a certan key among dozens.But knowing anyone can get one is scary.I wonder if this applies to the handcuffs used in the prison?

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Article comment by: Bart Simpson

@ shoulda been a bomb:

What kind of a nut are you, to make such an idiotic statement?

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Article comment by: really why

Who is doing the security in the courtrooms? They are not doing their jobs by searching the courtrooms before they bring in the inmates. That just doesn't make any sense to me.

How did Ashley put the cuff keys in the jury box anyhow? Don't they monitor who comes in the courtroom. How absurd.

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Article comment by: Warren O

Dont Get It -

'Does this mean that he had a set of keys with him for 2 days within the jail and hid them out until the 18th court date?'

What you want to bet he swallowed them? Two days is about right...

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Article comment by: Frederick D Williams

Doesn't say much for the security in the courtrooms. Aren't they ever cleaned and checked?

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Article comment by: Sheeple Stupid Sheeple

Got Caught acting stupid! And now you expect us to believe this tripe? Scapegoat's "R" Us. Sounds like a conspiracy theory to me. Authority said it so it must be true. Stupid sheeple...I wish you would pull your heads out.

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Article comment by: KDM Serious??

@ D. Ray-I agree.Sounds like this paper has a bit of a Obama syndrome.Same ole crap over n over.Damn.

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Article comment by: Joan Rivers

Wow... Mrs Morrison gets beaten by this person then goes out of her way to get him out of jail. NEXT TIME dont call the police and press charges unless you are really ready to leave him. Games people play!

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Article comment by: Dont Get It

Maybe I'm not understanding this correctly... but it says he had court hearings between the 14th-16th of Dec, found the key, and then used them for escape a few days later, then on the 18th, was in the van, and then broke free? Does this mean that he had a set of keys with him for 2 days within the jail and hid them out until the 18th court date? If so, I thought that every single time they return to the jail they are searched... Either I'm misunderstanding this, or something within the system is not being done like it should...

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Article comment by: am azing

Wow I just realised he had the key for over a month according to the investigation. Now whos to blame for that?

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Article comment by: am azed

Im sorry to say this but for some kids this was a really good idea. I have to say I've never heard of this one. Hopefully the authorites can be a little more carefull when checking their inmates. I mean dont they have strip searches all the time in jail expecially before and after a transport? Who if this guy had the key for 2 days how come no one found it on him?

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Article comment by: Daddy Ray

Can we get 1 more article about the escapee???

I believe that's about 8-9 articles now. Have we learned anything more about the mistakes that were made?
Have we heard about any changes that should be made, so nothing like this happens again?

No, we haven't.

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Article comment by: Joanne Marquez

This is serious business!! I surely hope that Ms Morrison gets jail time in the big house and maybe she will learn her lesson. Not just a slap on the hands, she is a proffessional. I know for one that I didn't realize that one could buy these keys for handcuffs that MCSO uses. Forget the handcuffs, use those plastic ties. And for the is time to start locking them up when not in use!!!!!!!

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Article comment by: shoulda been a bomb

not really. but at least if it had been, citizens railroaded into a kangaroo court by Government crime wouldn't have to endure a judge who always backs up that crime ask "do you understand your rights?" There are probably better ways to redress these wrongs, such as presenting them to the wonderfully empathatic web forum of the KDM. Maybe the bomb isn't such a bad idea after all.

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