Kelley Malone, the homeless man who David Morrison let spend the night in Prairie Village City Hall in 2012, was again at the center of the Morrison controversy Tuesday — this time appearing as a witness in the trial that will decide if Morrison remains a member of the city council.
Morrison’s actions a year ago are the basis for the Johnson County District Attorney’s legal action to remove him from the council. Evidence in the trial is being heard by 13 jurors and Judge David Hauber this week .
The prosecution called several witnesses Tuesday to establish that Morrison brought Malone into city hall over the weekend of Oct. 27 last year. But Malone also testified about the events of that weekend and his relationship with Morrison that led to the incident. Even before the Prairie Village City Council voted unanimously to recommend that Morrison be removed from the council, Morrison had admitted that he let Malone sleep in city hall for “humanitarian” reasons.
Malone, 38, said he and Morrison, 51, met when they worked together at mortgage company in 1998. That company folded eight months later, but he and Morrison remained friends over the years and have even shared Thanksgiving together. In 2011, Malone testified, he was injured in a motorcycle accident and became addicted to painkillers.
By fall of 2011 he was using oxycotin and heroin and also “smoked meth,” Malone testified. Malone’s testimony supported Morrison’s videotaped interview with Johnson County Sheriff’s Detective Rebecca Crabtree where Morrison described helping out Malone in 2011 by paying for a hotel, clothes and medical care and helping him get a job.
Before 2011, Malone said, he had a normal life with a job, a home and a car. And, he said, Morrison was not part of his drug use. By fall of 2012, he had relapsed, was using drugs again and was homeless after his girlfriend moved back in with her parents.
That led to his call to Morrison for help in October 2012. Morrison used his city council access code to bring Malone through the police department and into the city hall side of the municipal complex and let him spend the night Saturday.
Malone said Morrison “told me what the code was, (he) told me where I could go (in city hall).” He said he slept on a couch, used the employee lounge and the basement gym.
On Sunday, Oct. 28, Morrison picked Malone up and took him to a Kansas City Chiefs game with a couple other people. Then they went to dinner and Morrison brought him back to spend Sunday night at city hall, Malone testified.
He left Monday morning and found a different place to stay that night. During the course of his testimony Malone often answered that he could not recall details of the events last year. But, that Tuesday night he let himself back in to city hall using the key code. Wednesday morning he was a “little late” getting out and the police chief found him in the basement locker room, Malone said.
In Morrison’s taped police interview, he admitted bringing Malone to city hall out of desperation to find a safe place for him. He said Malone had told him that he was being threatened by drug dealers and could not go to City Union Mission because it was not safe for him.
During the interview, Det. Crabtree told Morrison that Malone had “a rap sheet 10 pages long.” “You’re handing keys to a criminal. You knew that he wasn’t supposed to be there. It’s bad. It’s horrible decision-making,” she told Morrison.
Neither Malone nor Morrison were charged with any criminal violations as a result of the incident. On Malone’s cross-examination, defense attorney Tom Bath probed his previous police problems which included two misdemeanor theft charges in 1996, a no license charge in 2001 and 2010 and a DUI in 2005. Bath pointed out that Malone had no felonies when Morrison helped him in 2011.
In 2012 Malone was in an accident in Lenexa and drugs were found in the car. He was supposed to work as a confidential informant, but that didn’t work out, he said. He wasn’t charged with a felony until December 2012.
At least three Prairie Village police dispatchers testified along with the city hall janitor, city clerk and city attorney. A great deal of testimony revolved around the city’s ethics code and training on it for council members. Morrison’s elderly father was the only spectator in the court during Tuesday testimony.