Cops: Man runs for help after ex-wife tied him up, dragged him behind truck

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VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Two people have been charged and a third arrested after police said they tied a 54-year-old man to the bumper of a pickup truck and dragged him for a half-mile down a dirt road in Samsula, according to deputies.

According to the police report, Jeanette Morris, 61, called the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office on Monday, explaining she’s out of town a lot and allows her ex-husband, Robert Hall, to stay at her house on High Ridge Lane while she’s away.

Morris said the two had a written agreement, allowing Hall to stay there until she repays a $1,300 debt to him.

However, Morris told deputies that she had heard that Hall’s girlfriend also was staying at the house and she didn’t want to get into a confrontation when she returned on Tuesday.

Morris was instructed to call back when she got into town so that a deputy could accompany her to the house. She did as instructed, and when Morris and the deputy arrived late Tuesday afternoon, Hall was there and appeared to be drunk.

A short while later, deputies said Anderson arrived. 

To avoid any problems, Morris told the deputy that she would spend the night at her brother's house in Edgewater. However, after the deputy left, that didn't happen, authorities said.

Instead, Morris, Harold Anderson, 63, and a third person stayed at the home and began drinking vodka with Hall.

At some point in the evening, the three attacked Hall and shocked him several times with a stun gun, and repeatedly punched him in the face, before putting a gun put to his head.

Hall then said his attackers tied his hands behind his back and dragged him outside, where they then tied another rope around his ankles and attached the other end to the rear bumper of a pickup truck.

The report said the truck then drove off and Hall was dragged down a dirt road.

Hall told authorities that at some point, the truck stopped and he was tossed into the bed of the vehicle.

That’s when Morris, Anderson and a third suspect cut off some of Hall’s hair while talking about scalping him, the report said.

Officers said when Hall overheard Anderson say he didn't want to be a part of the murder, so he knew he had to try to escape.

Hall said he managed to break free and leaped from the moving truck, running to the nearest house for help.

"I was just sitting in my living room, I had a gentleman walk up on my front porch. He's in his underwear, he's all bloody, he's got a rope around his neck," the caller said. "He was claiming that somebody was trying to kill him and just about that time there was a pick up truck coming down the road."

“It kind of caught me real off guard,” neighbor Tyler Shevlin told WFTV. “I see a dude standing there, he's got hemorrhaging from his face, his mouths all busted up, he's got a rope around his neck."

Shevlin said Hall was bloodied and telling him someone was trying to kill him.

“He had no pants on,” said Shevlin. “His underwear, that's all he was in, and a T-shirt. His underwear was completely shredded. His back was bleeding. The back of his thighs were all bleeding."

Hall still had the twine on him that was used to tie him up, Shevlin said.

“He had a bunch of little twine you would get off hay bails,” said Shevlin. “I know about hay bales, and it's the same rope they wrap hay bales with."

Investigators said Hall was hospitalized in the intensive surgical care unit with a broken pelvis, broken facial bones and bleeding in his brain.

After the incident, deputies located Morris, who claimed nothing had happened.

However, she had what appeared to be dried blood on her clothes and hand, authorities said.

During questioning, deputies said Morris insisted that the blood was from breaking up a fight between some dogs earlier in the day. She also told investigators that she didn’t wish any harm on her ex-husband and that she just wanted him out of her house, authorities said.

Deputies said they also arrested Anderson, who had a swollen right hand with bloodied knuckles. They said he was also carrying a gun and had a shovel in his vehicle, authorities said.

Investigators said Anderson told them that it wouldn’t have bothered him if Hall had died and that the only thing that he regretted was not being there to see him dragged behind the truck.

Authorities said Morris and Anderson were charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, false imprisonment, aggravated battery and aggravated assault.

Both were taken to jail and held without bail.

On Wednesday night investigators announced the arrest of Joan Hobart, 46, of New Smyrna Beach in connection with the attack. She was being taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach where investigators said she will face the same charges as Morris and Anderson.