Officers visited trailer 5 times, but no arrest made

Published 10:15 am Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Three Albert Lea police officers testified Monday at the Rice County Courthouse of responding on prior occasions to alleged domestic disturbances between Chad Jamie Gulbertson and Jody Lee Morrow. 

No one was arrested on those occasions.

The first officer, Jacob Stockwell, said he was dispatched to Morrow’s trailer on May 15, 2009, for what he described as a “possible physical domestic in process.”

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Morrow had called police, and when Stockwell arrived at the trailer he found Gulbertson sitting on the sidewalk in front of the residence. 

Gulbertson told the officer he was on the sidewalk “to get away from Jody.”

Stockwell noted Gulbertson told him he was coming to the trailer to get some of his things before Morrow got home from the hospital. However, Morrow got home and found him there. He said he accidentally hit a TV causing a mirror to break behind it. 

Gulbertson also mentioned that he had accidentally stepped on Morrow’s foot during that incident but moved back when he realized he did it, he told Stockwell. 

A second officer interviewed Morrow inside the trailer. 

Officer David Miller talked of an instance May 13, 2009, in which Gulbertson called the police because of a verbal disturbance.

Miller said he talked with Gulbertson first at the scene, where Gulbertson told him Morrow had allegedly threatened to kill him if he took her cats out of the house. 
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When Miller talked to Morrow, Morrow said she had taken the phone to call the police and Gulbertson had taken the phone from her. 

She admitted to making that statement and noted that Gulbertson had “been mean” to her earlier that day. 

She wanted to know how she could get Gulbertson out of the house. 

Miller said at that time, he gave her a Crime Victims Crisis Center reference card. Officer Tim Harves said that same day he had a casual conversation with Gulbertson in the driveway. Harves said because the police had been there so many times prior to that, he suggested to Gulbertson that maybe it wasn’t going to work out between the couple and they go their separate ways. 

Gulbertson agreed, he said. 

On March 8, 2009, Harves said dispatchers asked him to return a call to Morrow. The phone was answered by someone at the trailer, and he could hear arguing in the background. Then someone hung up the phone. 

Harves said he responded to the house in emergency mode, and when he got to the trailer he found the couple was arguing about the ownership of an item in the trailer. He could hear the argument as soon as he stepped out of his squad car to approach the house. 

Neither claimed to be assaulted and no one was arrested.

At that time Morrow wanted information on how she could evict Gulbertson from the trailer.

On July 25, 2008, Harves said Morrow called police just after 11 p.m. stating she and Gulbertson were arguing and that Gulbertson allegedly said that if she was going to call the police he would kill the police. The initial call indicated that Gulbertson was being physical and trashing the house, Harves testified.

Harves said he was the second or third officer to arrive. 

When he got there, he found Gulbertson outside the trailer near the back. There was a tent set up in the side yard, and Gulbertson was “fairly calm and collected,” Harves said. 

No one was arrested.

On March 10, 2007, Harves said Gulbertson called police just after 1 p.m., stating there had been an altercation between him and Morrow and he wanted to file a report. 

Gulbertson, who was calling from 821 Madison Ave., said he had allegedly been hit in the face and neck with Morrow’s closed fist four to five times while at the trailer. He noted he wanted to call from the trailer, but that phone had been ripped from the wall. 

Harves noted it was difficult to extract the cause of the altercation and said that Gulbertson had a little blood on the tip of his nose but no other notable injuries. 

When the officer went to Morrow at the trailer, he found the door of the trailer locked and discovered that Morrow had blocked off the door with some wood. 

She had no reluctance to talk about what happened and denied striking Gulbertson. 

She said she wanted Gulbertson to leave and was issued a CVCC phone in case of emergencies. 

No one was arrested because there was no evidence to support the charge, Harves said. 

The testimony came during what was the sixth day of testimony in the homicide case against Gulbertson. 

Gulbertson is charged with five counts of murder in Morrow’s death. 

Morrow was found in her trailer June 21, 2009, after being struck in the head with a hammer 18 times and stabbed with a knife three times. 

Gulbertson reportedly turned himself into police later that day. 

Other officers are expected to appear in court Tuesday.