Ruling might mean a third trial over attempt to kill ex-wife

This time, an appeals court found that evidence implicating David Morgan was seized illegally.

David Morgan (Washington State Department of Corrections)

David Morgan (Washington State Department of Corrections)

LYNNWOOD — A man convicted of trying to kill his ex-wife in Lynnwood in 2014 might be getting a new, third trial.

The state Court of Appeals issued a ruling Tuesday, finding that police improperly seized evidence from the man’s hospital room. The evidence — clothing bearing blood, which was later analyzed — was admitted in court.

Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe on Thursday said his office plans to challenge the ruling before the state Supreme Court.

The finding from the appeals court could bring about the third trial for David Morgan, 58. His first in Snohomish County Superior Court ended in a mistrial over surprise testimony from a fire investigator. The second ended in his conviction in 2016 on charges of attempted first-degree murder, assault and arson.

In the second trial, the jury found that Morgan fractured the skull of his ex-wife, Brenda Welch, and set her on fire. The jurors didn’t buy Morgan’s story that the culprit was an unidentified stranger.

Morgan was sentenced to more than 21 years in prison. He filed his appeal soon thereafter.

Brenda Welch (right) sheds tears during the 2016 sentencing of her ex-husband, David Morgan, who was convicted of trying to kill her. (Ian Terry / Herald file)

Brenda Welch (right) sheds tears during the 2016 sentencing of her ex-husband, David Morgan, who was convicted of trying to kill her. (Ian Terry / Herald file)

His ongoing legal battle is focused on police and prosecutor actions after the fire.

Morgan had inhaled smoke and was taken to a hospital for treatment. There, Lynnwood police collected plastic bags from his room. Blood was found on the clothing inside.

The appeals court agreed with Morgan that the initial seizure was illegal, extending that conclusion to any evidence collected as a result.

Morgan sought to have his charges dismissed, which the appeals court denied along with his claim of double jeopardy. He is serving time at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @rikkiking

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