Athens Review, Athens, Texas

August 30, 2013

Cops nab robber

Man alleged to have held elderly couple at gunpoint

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — A rural Van Zandt County couple was robbed by a gunman who burst through their door in mid-afternoon on Tuesday and threatened to kill them.

Rodney Wayne Morris, 46, of Gun Barrel City remained in the Van Zandt County Jail on Friday after being arrested at the Gun Barrel City home of his mother.

Total bond on the two counts of aggravated robbery was set at $200,000. The offense is a first-degree felony and is punishable upon conviction by five to 99 years imprisonment and a possible fine of no more than $10,000.

The Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office reports that the assailant forced his way into the home located on County Road 2722, northeast of Mabank at about 2:30 p.m.

Armed with a shotgun, the intruder allegedly threatened to kill the residents if they didn’t cooperate,  took a wallet and left the house. The couple, 85-year-old Mary Harrison and 78-year-old James Harrison, were not injured, but they were reported to be shaken by the break-in and threats.

According to VZCSO reports, Mary Harris called dispatch concerning the incident. Deputies responded to the location and spoke with the complainants. The Harrisons  were able to identify the 190-pound, 5-feet-nine-inch Morris as someone who had lived in their neighborhood and had done some yard work for them. They were also able to give a description of the vehicle Morris used to flee the residence.

Mabank police received information concerning the break-in and the identity of the possible suspect. Police drove to a Gun Barrel City house they knew belonged to one of Morris’ family members.

According to reports, Morris was at the house when they arrived and surrendered without incident.

The time of the arrest was listed at 6:30 p.m.