District Court judge orders Richard Morris held without bail

A shackled Richard Morris stands at his arraignment in Edgartown District Court Monday. — Photo by Steve Myrick

Updated 12:10 pm, Monday, Jan. 31

Court appearances and charges continue to pile up for Richard Morris of Oak Bluffs, in connection with three separate arrests within the past seven months, the latest last week.

On Monday morning, January 31, Mr. Morris appeared in Edgartown District Court to be arraigned on six charges of possession with intent to distribute illegal narcotics, including heroin, and a weapons charge in connection with his arrest last Wednesday at a house on Dreamers Way in Oak Bluffs, where police found a marijuana growing operation.

Following his arraignment, District Court Judge H. Gregory Williams ordered Mr. Morris held without bail in connection with his arrest on July 4, 2010, on stolen property and trafficking charges. He is expected to remain in jail until his next scheduled court appearance on February 22.

In a separate court proceeding on January 28, a Barnstable Superior Court judge held a bail revocation hearing for Mr. Morris. The court revoked bail of $10,000 and set new bail at $50,000. That hearing was scheduled prior to last week’s arrest, after police arrested Mr. Morris on stolen property charges in January.

On January 27, following a coordinated search of two houses, Oak Bluffs police and members of the Martha’s Vineyard Drug Task force arrested Mr. Morris, who was free on $10,000 bail in connection with a previous drug arrest, for possession of heroin. Police also arrested two brothers, Joseph and Luke DePriest, on drug cultivation and weapons charges.

At 5:15 pm, police went to the DePriest house at 2 Dreamers Way to execute a search warrant. At the same time, police executed a search warrant at the house of Mr. Morris at 2 James Place, according to a police press release.

Mr. Morris and the DePriest brothers were present when police arrived at 2 Dreamers Way. Police said they found a sophisticated marijuana cultivation operation in the basement. The officers seized 175 marijuana plants, along with a .22 caliber rifle and a shotgun.

At the Morris house, police said they found heroin, prescription pills that did not belong to Mr. Morris, marijuana, and more than $4,000 in cash.

Police arrested Joseph DePriest, 41, and Luke DePriest, 31, for illegal cultivation of marijuana and weapons violations. The brothers were arraigned in Edgartown District Court Thursday. Bail was set for both men at $1,000. There was no information regarding their release.

Police arrested Mr. Morris, 56, for several drug violations, including possession of heroin, marijuana, and prescription narcotics with intent to distribute.

Following his arrest, Mr. Morris requested that he be brought to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for medical treatment. Mr. Morris was transported to the hospital and later released on $500 bail, an amount set by a bail commissioner.

Mr. Morris has a long history of drug and theft arrests. At the time of his arrest Wednesday, he faced charges in connection with three separate arrests.

Police arrested Mr. Morris on April 12, 2010, as he disembarked from a Steamship Authority ferry in Vineyard Haven, after they received information that he had sold copper stolen from an NStar facility to a scrap metal yard in Worcester.

At the time, police seized 50 grams of heroin they found hidden in the tail light of his truck. He was later released on bail. A judge later ruled police had no right to search the vehicle and suppressed the drug evidence.

Mr. Morris is currently under indictment in Dukes County Superior Court for receiving stolen property and trafficking heroin, in connection with that arrest, according to police.

On July 4, 2010, police arrested Mr. Morris after a traffic stop. He was later charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute. That charge is still pending in Edgartown District Court. The court released Mr. Morris on $10,000 bail in August.