|The following is a tribute to Trooper Ernest Morse by his nephew, Ernest Todd.|
By Ernest Todd
There will always be times when a police officer is questioned concerning his/her use of deadly force in a life threatening situation.
However, I would like to give a different angle on this question by disclosing the events that led to the cold-blooded killing of my uncle and namesake, CT State Trooper, Ernest J. Morse, friday the 13th, February 1953.
Before 9pm that fateful friday, Trooper Morse spotted a black sedan roaring out of the tunnel on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in New Haven, CT, New York bound, and engaged pursuit. Unaware that the sedan had been stolen in Brookline, Mass., Morse thought he would be chasing an ordinary speeder. The driver, John B. Donahue of Arlington, Mass., had outdistanced Trooper Morse to the extent that he had time to pay his dime at the Milford toll gate. Morse eventually caught up with Donahue 5 miles farther into Trumbull, CT, flagging him down. As Morse got out of his car, Donahue, armed with a German make automatic, fired at Morse, striking the trooper in the abdomen. Morse collapsed in the roadway but was conscious enough to wave his searchlight to attract attention.
Navy Chief Petty Officer, Franklin Jansen,30, of West Babylon, Long Island, driving four sailors home from Rhode Island Naval Station, found the wounded cop. Morse whispered part of the license number and directed the Navy men to use his radio to report the shooting.
"OH GOD," my uncle groaned, 'Get my Rosary beads from my pocket!"
Before Morse was taken to Bridgeport Hospital, where he died less than an hour later, a priest in a passing car stopped to give him his last rites.
At Westport Barracks, Sgt. Louis Marchese organized a manhunt, comprised of 250 men, setting up roadblocks throughout the area.
Donahue was apprehended in a one-car garage in Cos Cob, CT, but not before crashing through a road block set up on the Mianus River bridge during a I mile chase. After abandoning his black sedan, Donahue stole another vehicle. After sustaining heavy gunfire from police, he then slammed the vehicle into a thick maple tree and clipped the side of Cos Cob Elementary school. Upon arrest, John Donahue, a career criminal, was taken to the Westport State Police barracks and confessed after all night questioning. He was held without bail in Trumbull town court.
In the aftermath, the CT Supreme Court of Errors unanimously upheld the 1st Degree Murder conviction and the Death Sentence was imposed on John B. Donahue for killing CT State Policeman, Ernest Morse of New Haven.,CT.
Edward J. Hickey- State Police Commissioner at that time "He was an outstanding police officer and his distinguished record is a credit to the force. "Moose," a nickname given to Morse by his fellow officers, was one of the most likeable guys in the department.
How tragic this officer, who once delivered a baby en rout to a hospital while on duty, was cut down in his prime.