Officers testify to additional domestic disturbances

Published 12:57 pm Tuesday, April 27, 2010

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Six additional Albert Lea police officers testified Tuesday at the Rice County Courthouse about three more times they responded to calls of domestic disturbances between Chad Jamie Gulbertson and Jody Lee Morrow, while also referring to three disturbances mentioned Monday in court.

In one of the additional disturbances discussed, Gulbertson was arrested for reportedly slapping Morrow’s peripherally inserted central catheter on her arm.

In a separate instance, Morrow was issued a citation for striking Gulbertson in the face several times and throwing a bowl of food at him.

According to testimony from officer Patrick Dahl, Gulbertson’s arrest took place after a disturbance on Sept. 2, 2008. Dispatchers received a 911 call from Morrow stating there had been a physical altercation and she had received physical injuries.

Dahl said he spent 10 to 15 minutes talking to Morrow. She met him at the door of her trailer at 730 Larimore Circle and then went back inside the trailer and sat in her wheelchair as they talked.

He said she showed him her left arm where she had the PICC line — which she received antibiotics from.

Dahl said he asked Morrow whether she wanted him to call an ambulance for her, but she declined because she had a doctor’s appointment the following day and thought the doctor could check her out then.

During that instance Dahl said he also asked whether Morrow had applied for an order for protection against Gulbertson, and Morrow told him she had completed the paperwork but had not followed through.

He said he did not examine her.

Lt. Darren Hanson said he interviewed Gulbertson after this disturbance in the back yard of the trailer. During the interview, Gulbertson explained he was playing video games alone in the trailer when Morrow came home from an appointment with her case worker and was “nagging him” about cleaning up the trailer.

Gulbertson told Hanson he got up and started breaking things and he threatened to move out.

When he did this, Morrow got more upset and came after him, Hanson recalled Gulbertson saying.

The man told the officer he knocked her arms away. She tried to push him out of the trailer and as he went back he fell backward and may have kicked her. He said he wasn’t sure what happened.

Gulbertson was ultimately arrested.

Hanson said Morrow was issued a citation after an instance on Oct. 27, 2006, when Gulbertson reportedly came into the Law Enforcement Center to report that he had been struck by Morrow five times in the face. He told officers Morrow also threw a bowl of food at him.

Hanson said when he interviewed Morrow, she gave an almost identical story and admitted to striking him several times.

She and the officer talked about some medications she was on and how they had been recently adjusted, which made her more easily irritated.

He said he took her to speak with her case worker because he was concerned about her mental stability.

He issued her a citation for misdemeanor domestic assault.

The other additional disturbance described in court Tuesday was on July 3, 2008, when officers were dispatched to the trailer toward the end of the Third of July parade for a 911 call from Morrow that stated Gulbertson was throwing things around the trailer.

Cpl. Tim Matson said before he was able to get to the trailer, he was dispatched to the Law Enforcement Center, where Gulbertson had reportedly come in to talk with an officer.

Gulbertson told him he and Morrow had gotten into a fight about cleaning the trailer. Morrow’s children were coming over.

Gulbertson said he was going to throw a chair through the window and Morrow allegedly grabbed him by the throat in an attempt to get him to stop, Matson testified. Gulbertson told the officer he had not assaulted or threatened Morrow.

There were no marks on his neck.

Lt. Jeff Strom said he talked with Morrow in this call, who also mentioned that she and Gulbertson were fighting about getting the house cleaned.

Strom said Morrow told him that Gulbertson had made a comment about hitting her. She advanced toward him, and then Gulbertson reportedly made a second comment about killing her.

That’s when Gulbertson picked up the chair and threatened to throw it out the window, Strom said.

There were no signs of injury on her and Gulbertson agreed to go elsewhere for the night.

Morrow was given a Crime Victims Crisis Center card, and no one was arrested.

The other dates of domestic disturbances referenced by officers Tuesday were March 10, 2007; July 25, 2008; and May 15, 2009.

The testimony came on the seven day of testimony in the homicide trial against Gulbertson.

Gulbertson faces five charges of murder in Morrow’s death.