MILWAUKEE — 26-year-old Michael Morgan of Milwaukee, charged with arson in connection with a homicide/arson that occurred near 36th and Silver Spring Drive early on October 20th, made his initial appearance in court in this case on Thursday, November 5th.
A $100,000 cash bond was set. He has been ordered to have no contact with his estranged wife.
A two-year-old child, Tae’najah Morgan, died following this arson fire, and 10-year-old Kevin Little was critically injured. Four other children and their grandmother escaped from the home.
According to the criminal complaint, fire investigators determined the origin of the fire was found in the first-floor living room of the home. The complaint indicates “an accelerant-sniffing dog made several positive alerts for an ignitable liquid, consistent with gasoline” in the living room and a first-floor bedroom.
The complaint says “fire investigators discovered clean, broken glass from the south first floor living room window approximately 15 to 20 feet sound of the home, across the driveway. The broken glass is consistent with a gas vapor explosion having occurred.”
A gas can was discovered underneath the kitchen sink, according to the complaint.
The complaint indicates Tae’najah Morgan and Kevin Little were “found in the upstairs room.” When first responders found the two, the boy appeared “to be protecting Tae’najah by covering her with his body.”
According to the complaint, the children’s grandmother was staying with them on the night of October 20th, and there was a total of six children in the home.
At one point during the night, the complaint indicates one of the children woke up the grandmother — saying the house was on fire and they needed to get out.
The grandmother was able to get four of the children out of the home, but as she was exiting the home, she realized one of the children must have gone back to his room.
10-year-old Kevin Little was found in an upstairs bedroom, laying over two-year-old Tae’najah.
Tae’najah Morgan died at Children’s Hospital one day after this fire.
Kevin Little was seriously injured as a result of the fire, and is currently in hospice.
The person who called 911 to report the fire told investigators he called for help after Morgan approached him outside of a gas station. Morgan apparently asked to use the person’s cell phone to report a fire on 36th and Silver Spring. The witness thought it was an odd request “because he did not smell any fire nor did he see any signs of fire nearby.” Instead of giving up the phone, the person called 911, provided the address and then hung up. The complaint indicates at that point, Morgan “nodded his head and walked southbound on 35th St.”
The complaint indicates Morgan and his estranged wife were in the process of a divorce, but had dismissed the proceedings and were attempting therapy.
Morgan was charged with battery, criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct in a case filed in 2014, and a no contact order was issued as part of that case — indicating Morgan was to have no contact with his estranged wife.
When police eventually caught up to Morgan, he “denied being in the area” of the arson. If convicted, Morgan faces up to 40 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses for Tae’najah Morgan.
Michael Morgan has a preliminary hearing scheduled for November 12th.