Anthony Eugene Morrisey, kidnapped and under threat of execution, spoke to two friends involved in the drug trade and begged them to come up with half a kilogram of cocaine and $20,000 in cash, police sources said yesterday.
The desperate plea was first made last Wednesday night to the two friends, who told police after Morrisey was killed that he and they were involved with drugs, police sources said.
One of the two men was arriving that day from New York, and Morrisey was supposed to pick him up at National Airport.
When he failed to show up, the friend went to an apartment in Northwest Washington.
There, he found the second friend talking to Morrisey on the telephone.
Morrisey, 20, told them he had been kidnapped and would be killed if the ransom demand was not met.
"I can't get that kind of money," one of the friends told Morrisey, a police source said.
These were among the new details that emerged yesterday about the execution-style slaying of Morrisey.
The case has generated an intense police search for the killers and raised questions about the way the police department reacted.
After the call Wednesday night, one of the friends called the Morrisey family and delivered the news of the kidnapping.
The friend spoke to Anthony Morrisey's father, Frank, and gave him a telephone number supplied by the kidnappers.
The father was told to call at 11 p.m. to find out where to drop off the ransom.
Frank Morrisey called the police shortly after he received the call. Police detectives with recording equipment arrived at the Morrisey house between 10 and 11 p.m. They tried unsuccessfully to trace several calls between Frank Morrisey and the kidnappers, sources said. At first, the kidnappers wanted the ransom left at Emery Elementary School in Northeast, sources said.
But that site was dismissed by the detectives because it was too dark.
Both sides agreed to meet at 12:30 p.m. at Evans Junior High School at 58th and East Capitol streets SE, sources said.
Frank Morrisey and his wife, Gertrude, have said police were very slow in responding, and it was past midnight when her husband and the police left for the prearranged drop.
Police, who were concerned that Frank Morrisey was in danger, had a detective make the drop. No one picked up the package.
A station wagon drove by several times, and a source said detectives unsuccessfully tried to stop it.
It was unclear how police attempted to stop the vehicle.
About 2 a.m., police heard about a shooting on 58th Street, two blocks away from the junior high school. They found Morrisey lying in an alley with one gunshot wound to the head.
"They murdered this 20-year-old kid in cold blood," Police Chief Isaac Fulwood Jr. said yesterday. "They had total disregard for human life. It's a very sad and unfortunate thing. But the police official in charge did the best thing he could under the circumstances. Unfortunately, anyone in law enforcement knows this is a risky business."
One of the suspects police are seeking, Reginald "New York Reggie" Douglas, 20, had been arrested in connection with an August 1989 homicide in the District, and was released after posting a $75,000 bond, police said.
Douglas and the other suspect, David Long, 17, are believed by police to be part of a group that kidnapped Morrisey.
For the Morrisey family, the strange circumstances surrounding the death of Anthony Morrisey have been compounded by persistent allegations that he was involved in drugs.
It is a claim police have made from the onset, citing the kidnappers' ransom demand of cocaine. It is a claim the family has dismissed, arguing that there was no mention of cocaine in their talks with the kidnappers.
But for the first time yesterday, Morrisey's father and sister said drugs may have played a role. It is a wrenching possibility to even consider, family members said, because it runs contrary to all they knew about Anthony.
"Why did they ask for drugs?" asked Evangeline Morrisey, his sister. "Were they involved in drugs? All of these things I need to know to help me get through this, because this is very difficult to bear. My brother was an extremely clean-cut person. It's difficult to believe, but anything is possible."
Frank Morrisey said it is possible the kidnappers asked only his son's friends for money and drugs.
Asked if it is possible that his son was involved in drugs, Morrisey said. "You can never tell. He's a young man who's away from the house. I wouldn't put my head on the chopping block; I wouldn't say no absolutely."