A dancer at a gay Atlanta club is accused of shooting his boyfriend twice in the head and killing him as he slept on a couch in the Midtown condo they shared.
Police say William Bradley Morgan, 34, then wrapped the body of Brian Campbell in two large black plastic bags, stuffed him in a closet, lit a candle and turned down the thermostat as low as it would go to help conceal the crime. Morgan then stole Campbell's guns, bank cards, luggage and Land Rover Discovery before fleeing to Alabama.
The details of how Morgan allegedly killed Campbell on Oct. 1 came out during a preliminary hearing on Thursday. Fulton County Magistrate Judge Jessy Lall ruled there was probable cause to pursue five charges against Morgan – malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, theft by taking and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Morgan (top photo) was arrested in Calhoun County, Ala., on Oct. 20 and extradited to Atlanta on Dec. 23. He is being held in the Fulton County Jail without bond, though a bond hearing is scheduled for Feb. 9.
On Thursday, police said both men were married to women – Campbell had a wife and children who lived in Delaware; Morgan's estranged wife was in Alabama – but the two men were in a romantic relationship for more than a year. They shared a 27th floor condo at 1010 Midtown and before that, they lived together in a past residence of Campbell.
"The relationship, that's a little complicated because based on some people we spoke with there was a romantic link between the two," GBI Special Agent David Jones testified during the hearing. At the time of the killing, Jones was an Atlanta police homicide detective who investigated the case.
Campbell (second photo) met Morgan at a gay Atlanta club when he worked there as a stripper and they knew each other for more than a year, Jones said. Morgan also told his estranged wife and her step-mother that he and Campbell were boyfriends and that Campbell was supporting him financially, Jones said.
"[Morgan's wife] knew about Mr. Campbell and she believed that they had an intimate relationship and that was one of the points of contention between the two," Jones said.
Atlanta police found Campbell's body inside a bathroom closet on Oct. 3 after his wife reported him missing a day earlier. Campbell was last seen on Oct. 1 as he and Morgan joined two co-workers of Campbell at a corporate networking event in Braselton, Ga. The event was hosted by Comcast, where Campbell was employed as a Division Vice President of Collection.
Those two friends and co-workers later identified Morgan to police. Video surveillance from the condo building showed that after the four men returned about 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 1, Campbell and Morgan took the elevator to the condo and went inside. Campbell was never seen again on surveillance video, though Morgan was spotted leaving about four hours later, Jones testified.
"He had changed clothing, had like a tablet in his hand and went to the parking deck. He left in Mr. Campbell's 2016 Land Rover Discovery," Jones said.
Morgan returned to the condo the next day – about 10 a.m. on Oct. 2.
"He again changed clothes, this time has a suitcase and backpack, gets into Mr. Campbell's vehicle and leaves for the last time. Our theory, based on the appearance of the apartment, is that he cleaned up, cleaned himself up and left," Jones said.
'He would let bygones be bygones and forgive him'
Police said Morgan shot Campbell twice in the head as he napped on a couch that he sometimes slept on due to a back injury. Investigators found a large blood stain on the couch that was covered by a pillow.
"What was immediately peculiar was the setting of the thermostat was turned down to the lowest setting. It was extremely cold in the apartment. The lights were off, curtains closed and a scented candle was burning in the bathroom right outside the closet door where Mr. Campbell was discovered," Jones said.
When Morgan left the condo after the homicide, he drove to Anniston. Jones said surveillance video shows Morgan checking into a Knight's Inn and using one of Campbell's credit cards to pay for a room. Morgan used Campbell's name on the registration form but his own cell phone number, Jones testified.
As Morgan returned to Atlanta on Oct. 2, he used Campbell's debit cards to buy food at a McDonald's in Anniston and an Arby's in Villa Rica, Ga., Jones said. Additional surveillance video showed Morgan stopping in Campbell's vehicle at Walmart.
Police said Morgan's fingerprints were found on the candle in the condo and that his city-issued adult entertainer license was left behind in a trash can. Morgan allegedly took three of Campbell's watches – two of which were pricy Breitlings – after he killed him and tried to sell them at three pawn shops.
"Two large trash bags were used to contain Mr. Campbell. He was clad in only his underwear. We also found another large trash bag, which turned out to be Mr. Campbell's clothing that had been cut up," Jones said.
Police said Morgan also took two handguns from the condo, including the 9mm gun he allegedly used to shoot Campbell. When he fled to Alabama, he told his estranged wife that "he was leaving the country because something bad happened," Jones said.
A month before the killing, around Labor Day, Morgan was supposed to pick Campbell up at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport when he returned from a trip visiting his family in Delaware. Instead, Morgan stole Campbell's property from the condo and drove to Alabama in Campbell's vehicle, Jones said.
Campbell didn't pursue criminal charges after the incident.
"He was conflicted and he kind of used some mutual friends of Mr. Morgan to convince him to come back and he would let bygones be bygones and forgive him," Jones said.
Morgan was a convicted felon for a burlgary in Calhoun County, Ala. In 2002, a then 19-year-old Morgan was arrested after he tied up a high school teacher in Heard County, Ga., and tried to steal her car. He was on a prison work detail at the time.
When Atlanta police questioned Morgan about the shooting, he offered few details on what happened.
"He made bits and fragments of statements. He said that when he went into the apartment, he saw that something bad had happened and he got scared and left. When I tried to get further details, he said that he didn't want his words to be twisted and wasn't going to say anything else and he later requested an attorney," Jones said.