Trial begins for man shot by police in his home

Georgetown man charged with assault of officer, resisting arrest
June 23, 2014

A Georgetown man shot several times by a police officer inside the man's home is on trial in Sussex County Superior Court.

Michael W. Rogers, 53, is charged with second-degree assault of a police officer and resisting arrest after police say he fought with a trooper who went to Rogers' home to investigate a traffic accident at a nearby bar.

Trooper Matthew Morgan, who has since been promoted to corporal, testified June 23 that he went to Rogers' home at about 10 p.m. Aug. 1 about a ticket for inattentive driving; Rogers was asleep when Morgan arrived.

After Rogers mother, Lorraine, woke him, Morgan said Rogers was uncooperative and became combative. Morgan said he tried to call for back-up but Rogers put him in a headlock, which made Morgan fear for his life.

“I thought they're going to find me dead on the floor with a broken neck, all for an $89 inattentive driving ticket,” he said.

Morgan's Taser did not work against Rogers, and the two ended up in the front of the home with Morgan positioned at the home's front door about 20 feet away from Rogers. That's when, Morgan said, Rogers came at him with a coffee table.

“I'm physically worn out … in my mind he's going to kill me or knock me out,” said Morgan, a slender man at about 150 pounds and 5-feet-8-inches tall. Morgan speaks with a quiet lisp and was asked at one point to speak up by Delaware Deputy Attorney General David Hume.

The trial will continue at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 24, when Rogers' defense attorney, Andrew Jezic, cross examines Morgan.

In opening statements, Jezic said Morgan never told the intoxicated Rogers he was under arrest or in custody.

Jezic also countered the state's claim that Morgan was using the table as a weapon. Instead, Jezic said Rogers used the table as a shield to protect himself when Morgan fired seven shots at him.

The entire exchange between Morgan and Rogers was combative; Rogers told Morgan not to take out his gun several times, Jezic said.

“Michael used reasonable force to repel the force against him,” Jezic said.

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