Trial set in aggravated murder case

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A murder trial is set for September for the man involved in a 2013 traffic accident that led to the discovery of an Albany man’s dead body.

Patrick Morgan, 48, was found dead in the back of a truck involved in the crash in Jackson County. Morgan had numerous stab wounds.

Lewis J. Vance, 38, of Caldwell, was indicted in June, but had not had his trial date scheduled until recently. In December, a judge in Jackson County Common Pleas Court ruled him competent to stand trial, allowing the case to move forward.

Vance is facing two counts each of murder, felonious assault, kidnapping and abduction and one count each of aggravated murder, attempted rape and tampering with evidence.

The charges mainly deal with Morgan as the victim, but other victims are alleged as well. In one count of kidnapping and one count of abduction, a female is alleged as the victim “with purpose to engage in sexual activity.” In the other kidnapping and abduction charges, another female — under the age of 13 — is alleged to be the victim. The attempted rape charge does not identify a victim.

The crash involving the truck occurred Nov. 29, 2013, in the vicinity of Diggs Road in Coal Twp. After the crash, Vance reportedly fled the scene on foot. Morgan’s body was discovered in the bed of the truck Vance had been driving. The truck was later confirmed to belong to Morgan.

Morgan had been stabbed multiple times in the head and neck area, and authorities stated he had attempted to fight off his attacker.

While officers were at the crash site, Wellston police responded to a call at 1254 S. New York Ave., where they determined a crime had occurred. An investigation into Morgan’s death ensued.
A final pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Aug. 14 at 11 a.m., and a jury trial is scheduled for Sept. 9-18, beginning at 9 a.m. each day.