Judge refuses to lower $300,000 bond for teen shot by woman during Tarpon Springs attack

Daniel Morley, Pinellas County Jail booking photo

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A judge has refused to lower bond for a Tarpons Springs teenager accused of randomly attacking two women and a child earlier this month.

Daniel Morely is being held in jail on a $300,000 bond. The 18-year-old stood before a judge in a courtroom on Thursday morning with the support of relatives, his girlfriend, and his attorney who argued he was on drugs, likely spice, when the incident occurred, that the episode was completely out of character and he shouldn’t be sitting in jail.  His mother, Jennifer Marrentime told the judge her son was on the right track and was heading to college before this happened.  She said he was in need of a drug intervention, possibly drug court and that she was volunteering to take him to rehabilitation meetings.

Morely was arrested on several battery charges after an incident involving 52-year-old Susan Bass, 31-year-old Brittany Cheek and Cheek’s 3-year-old child.

Deputies were called to a condo at Pine Ridge Circle East in Tarpon Springs after receiving a report of a suspicious person yelling and knocking on doors.

When they arrived, they found a man matching the description on the second story balcony wearing only boxer shorts and were informed by dispatchers that someone in the condo was armed with a gun. Deputies say Morely was covered in blood when he answered the door to the residence and began attacking responding units. Deputies tried to subdue the suspect with an electronic control device, but it had little to no effect. After a violent struggle with deputies, Morely was eventually detained.

Deputies later found Cheek and her child locked in the bathroom. Cheek explained that she heard yelling outside of her apartment and observed Morely attacking her neighbor, 52-year-old Susan Bass. Cheek told deputies she grabbed her handgun decided to confront Morely, telling him to leave Bass alone. Morely then, according to Cheek, lunged at her and in response, she fired her handgun, hitting Morely in the leg. Despite the apparent gunshot wounds, Morely proceeded to enter her apartment and attacked her in front of her 3-year-old child, who deputies say was knocked down during the attack and received minor injuries, possibly a concussion. Cheek was treated for minor injuries.

When deputies interviewed Bass, she said Morely was bleeding from his head when he came to her door and started knocking. She assumed he was in need of assistance, and decided to open the door. She said Morely began making incoherent statements referring to God and the devil and would not let the victim shut the door. He became agitated and physically attacked her, according to Bass, who says she did not know Morely. Paramedics also treated Bass for minor injuries.

Morely was charged with two counts of simple battery, two counts of burglary with assault or battery, one count of battery on law enforcement officer and three counts of resisting with violence.

At the courthouse on Thursday, Bass told the judge she had never been so scared in her life.  “I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life. I thought he was sick and I wanted to help him,” Bass said.   “It was like he was superhuman and wrestling me.”

“If he is free, oh my God I don’t think I’ll sleep at night,” she continued.

The judge denied a request to lower his bond and said he wants the family to look into a drug rehabilitation program for the teen before he revisits the case.

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