BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — A 33-year-old woman is charged with the death of a 64-year-old pharmaceutical executive inside his Bucks County home.
Investigators say Jennifer Morrissey lived with Michael McNew in his Washington Crossing home, but the two had a falling out. According to charging documents, investigators recovered deleted texts from Morrissey’s phone sent the day McNew was murdered.
McNew was found in a chair Aug. 8 inside his home along the Delaware River in Washington Crossing, dead of a bullet wound to the head. He had been shot once in the face, an autopsy determined.
Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub recounted some of the text message threats Morrissey allegedly wrote in response.
“Get the gun ready cause I’m coming, I already told you I’d be there tonight… guess you’re going to just have to shoot me….You have a choice. Touch my stuff or I’ll cut your throat,” one text from Morrissey reportedly said.
“I’ll gut you like I’m field dressing a [expletive] deer,” another message said.
A probable cause affidavit shows McNew told Morrissey he would be boxing up her belongings and placing them in storage. He added that she was no longer welcome in the home and that he would defend himself if she came there.
“It’s safe to assume there was a relationship between Mr. McNew and Ms. Morrissey,” said Weintraub. “It’s not disputed that Ms. Morrissey did have a boyfriend other than Mr. McNew.”
Investigators could not elaborate on the extent of the relationship between McNew and Morrissey, although from tearful interviews she gave to detectives, it appears he helped support her financially.
When interviewed by police about the murder, investigators say Morrissey said McNew did everything for her and didn’t deserve to die.
McNew had reportedly threatened to give the FBI information on Morrissey’s boyfriend.
When police asked her if anyone was a threat to McNew they say she replied, “yes, her boyfriend, Charles Kulow, with the Breed Motorcycle Club.” That boyfriend has not been charged, though authorities say Morrissey initially tried to cast suspicion on him.
While detectives found a shell casing next to the chair in which they found McNew, they did not recover a weapon and the crime scene did not indicate a struggle.
Investigators add Morrissey went to great lengths to cover her alleged crime, including returning to the home later to stage a robbery scene, stealing a laptop and cell phone from that scene, and deleting her own text messages.
She also told detectives she had not visited the home since July 31, though cell phone records showed her iPhone 6S had auto-connected to the wireless router in McNew’s home on the evening of Aug. 6, when he is believed to have been killed. Authorities also recovered her second cell phone, a ZTE.
Information from four confidential informants also contradict statements she made to investigators, according to the affidavit.
McNew’s adult children told detectives they had last communicated with their father around 5 p.m. on Aug. 6.
They told Eyewitness News in a statement: “Our family is deeply saddened that our father was tragically taken from us. We are relieved to hear that an arrest has been made and we are appreciative of the hard work put forth by the Bucks County District Attorney’s office and the Upper Makefield Police Department throughout this lengthy investigation. We are hopeful that justice will be served on our father’s behalf.”
Neighbors describe McNew as a “great guy” who could often be seen enjoying water sports behind his home on the Delaware River.
Morrissey is charged with murder, burglary, and tampering with the scene of a crime.
Morrissey is being held at the Bucks County jail without bail. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 16.