Work release inmate who left work site captured by Gonzales Police Officers

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Gonzales – On November 4, City of Gonzales Police Department Officers, Duane Carpenter and Sean Zeringue, were dispatched to Ascension Roofing and Sheet Metal, 2140 South Philippe, in response to a work release inmate having left the premises in a company vehicle.

Officers were advised that the vehicle was a silver 2012 Chevrolet pickup truck with Ascension Roofing and Sheet Metal decals on both the driver and passenger side doors.

Officers were advised that the work release inmate, Eric Richard Morton, was part of a program through the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s office and that he left the site wearing an orange t-shirt and jeans.

Officers immediately put out a BOLO for the suspect and vehicle and contacted the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, who advised that they would contact Hunt Correctional and the U.S. Marshall’s Office for assistance.

Officers learned that Morton had family in Livingston and Denham Springs and a BOLO was also sent to those agencies. Not long after, officers were advised that the truck was seen on Hwy. 30 at I-10.

Officers noticed the suspect vehicle east on Hwy. 30, with a man fitting Morton’s description at the wheel. When the truck turned north on Philippe St., a traffic stop was initiated with the driver being identified as Morton.

When questioned, Morton stated that he had left the business around 9:00 a.m. and gone to Denham Springs to see a female friend and have lunch. He also stated he went by Academy Sports.

A search of the truck revealed that nothing was missing and that there was no damage, and Ascension Roofing and Sheet Metal stated they did not wish to press charges in relation to the unauthorized use of the company vehicle. A representative from the company was allowed to take the truck back to its place of business.

As Morton had left the work release program, he was transported to the City of Gonzales Police Department. The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office was called, and came to take custody of Morton.

Officers learned that Morton had been in the work release program for a couple of months and knew he was not meant to leave. He admitted using poor judgment and apologized for his actions.

Officers also learned that Morton was serving time for three counts of simple burglary and had an extensive criminal history including possession of schedule IV CDS, purse snatching, felony theft, possession of schedule I CDS, possession of schedule III CDS, possession of drug paraphernalia, felony theft, issuing worthless checks, improper supervision of a minor and domestic abuse.

Morton is now back in the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office Parish Prison and faces additional charges.