Two men battered and carjacked a 67-year-old West Ridge man as he prepared to go to work, then fell asleep in a car next to the hijacked vehicle with the victim’s property in their pockets, prosecutors said Thursday.
Judge Charles Beach ordered Horace Murff and David Morales, both 19, held without bail on one count of aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm each.
The victim was warming up his car to go to work around 6:26 a.m. Tuesday when two men wearing ski masks approached him on the 6600 block of North Campbell, according to police and Assistant State’s Attorney Sergio Gomez.
Both offenders opened the victim’s driver-side door and ordered him to get out while pointing two handguns at him. Gomez said one of the hijackers hit the man in the face, causing him to fall to the ground while the other patted the victim down and took two packs of cigarettes from him.
The carjackers drove away with the man’s car, which still had the victim’s phone inside.
Gomez said the victim’s nephew called police and began tracking the phone and taking screenshots of its location over the next several hours. On Tuesday afternoon, police went to the phone’s last known location and found the victim’s car in front of the house where Murff lives on the 5900 block of North Artesian — that’s about a mile south of where the hijacking took place.
Next to the hijacked car, police saw two men in another vehicle that is reportedly registered to Murff’s mother. According to Gomez, Murff was slumped over the steering wheel, and Morales was asleep in the back seat.
Concerned for the men’s well-being, officers roused the duo. Murff had possession of the victim’s phone, and Morales had the hijacked car’s key fob, Gomez said.
Morales admitted to participating in the carjacking and claimed that Murff was the person who had a gun, according to Gomez. He is on probation for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Judge Beach, noting that people who work together to commit crimes can be held responsible for the other’s actions, ordered him held without bail a violation until he can see the judge in that case on November 5.
Murff has no criminal background.
A public defender who represented Morales during Thursday’s hearing noted that the hijackers were wearing ski masks, and no one has identified the men as the people who took the car. She also pointed out that no gun was recovered.