William Morva?s capital murder charge was confirmed Friday, Nov. 3 at a preliminary hearing under District Judge Gino Williams. The hearing included the testimonies of three witnesses from the Aug. 20 shooting death of security officer Derrick McFarland at Montgomery County Regional Hospital.
Morva (24) has been indicted on two other counts of capital murder, which include the shooting death of Cpl. Eric Sutphin and because he has been charged with murdering two people in less than three years.
The first witness called to the stand was Montgomery County Sheriff?s Deputy Russell Quesenberry, who had been guarding Morva while he was using the restroom from which he escaped at the hospital. Quesenberry testified that he had heard two consecutive flushes in the one-person restroom and found Morva standing in front of the toilet with his orange jumpsuit pants in the corner. He stated that the next thing he remembered was waking up in the emergency room with multiple fractures to his face, an injured right hand and a deviated septum, for which surgery was required. In addition, his 40-caliber Glock with 15 shots remaining was missing. Morva had been in the restroom for approximately 30?40 seconds.
The second person to testify in the case was a patient who said she saw Morva shoot McFarland. She testified that McFarland did not attempt to take the weapon or resist Morva, nor did she hear the two speak to each other during the incident. She stated that she had been checking out of the hospital right as the incident happened. Once she had witnessed the incident the witness said that she ran behind the nurses station and was then taken to a secured room.
The third and final witness was the physician?s assistant who reported treating Morva earlier that morning. He claimed to have heard one to two shots before realizing what was happening and subsequently calling 911. He also stated that Morva exited the building by shooting four to five shots into the locked sliding-glass doors. The witness also saw Quesenberry staggering out of the bathroom with a metal toilet paper dispenser wrapped around his neck.
The physician?s assistant also noted that there were eight to 10 staff members present in the waiting room in addition to roughly 10 patients. All three witnesses testified that Morva was wearing a white T-shirt during the incident.
Morva, who was being held on charges of attempted armed robbery in August 2005, was at the hospital that day seeking treatment for injuries on his wrist, forearm and leg from a fall he experienced while in jail. X-rays for these injuries had been ordered; however, there were no broken bones. The injuries were found to be only scrapes and a sprained wrist. Morva had been seen by the physician?s assistant for only 10 minutes and escaped and shot McFarland 30 minutes later.
Morva had escaped from the Montgomery County Regional Hospital on the morning of Aug. 20 and remained on the loose armed and dangerous for 37 hours. Eight hours after shooting and killing Montgomery County Sheriff?s Deputy Eric Sutphin, he was captured in a briar patch on the Huckleberry Trail 150 yards away from where Sutphin had been shot. Morva?s escape shutdown the Virginia Tech campus on the first day of classes, and the manhunt was closely followed all across the nation.
Future court dates have not been scheduled at this time.