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Seemed A Suicide -- But Was Murder, Paterson Police Charge

Mickel K. Morgan
Mickel K. Morgan Photo Credit: MUGSHOT: Courtesy WYCKOFF PD

PATERSON, N.J. – What at first seemed a suicide by a Paterson man led to murder charges against another, authorities said.

Mickel Morgan, 23, shot the 22-year-old victim in the head in an apartment in the 100 block of East 31st Street where Morgan lives around 9:20 p.m. Sept. 18, Police Director Jerry Speziale said Friday.

Paterson authorities didn't have to look far: Morgan already was being held in the Bergen County Jail on weapons possession charges following his arrest later that month.

City investigators additionally charged him with murder and weapons offenses.

Detectives Jack DeSalvo and Steve Leishman of the Paterson Police Detective Bureau and Detective Michael Cossari of the Paterson Police Crime Scene Unit conducted interviews and collected evidence, along with the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Working with Detective Sabrina McCoy of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, the city investigators determined that it was a homicide and not a suicide, Speziale said.

A rookie Wyckoff police officer arrested Morgan in February after stopping him for speeding on a local street and finding him carrying a fully-loaded .38-caliber handgun in a jacket pocket , authorities said at the time.

In the car, they said, they found a 17-inch machete that Morgan told them he "carried for protection."

He posted $25,000 bail a little over a week later and was released, records show.

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