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“Morgan did not have the upper hand in this relationship.”   

Morgan never shot herself up—Aaron would inject them both—and they would have a recurring argument, a friend says. “Me first.” “No, me first.” Sometimes Morgan would say she deserved to go first because she was supplying the money: “I do everything to get it. You’ve got to do me first!” Other times, she’d make a practical case. “You have to be awake when you do it.” And if Aaron nodded off in the middle of injecting her, she’d shout, “You’re hurting me!” until he did it right. Aaron refused to sell the more important pieces of his weapons and military-memorabilia collection to pay for drugs. But Morgan started to complain that Aaron wouldn’t do anything to help get more money. “Everything is my responsibility,” she’d say.

On February 17, 2012, Morgan met a man at Johnny’s Bar in the Village, went back with him to his apartment, waited for him to fall asleep, and fled with his backpack. Inside were two laptops, an iPhone, a wallet, and credit cards. When Morgan used the cards, the police traced them to her. She was charged with third- and fourth-degree larceny. Five days later, on February 22, Morgan and Aaron and another friend were arrested in Washington Heights. They’d just bought some heroin, and Aaron, in the driver’s seat, had pulled over to inject himself. A cop found empty heroin bags on the floor, pot, a digital scale with heroin residue in Morgan’s bag, and, in the trunk, a .223 caliber Ruger Mini-14 assault rifle registered to Aaron’s family. Aaron pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a ­misdemeanor, and served part of a five-month jail sentence. Morgan’s case, not for weapons but drugs, was adjourned in contemplation of later dismissal (it was restored again after she was rearrested in December). Still, Morgan was hysterical in custody, crying and screaming. She called her mother, not just for help but for something to get her through withdrawal. “I’m going to be sick,” she shouted. “Bring me something!” Morgan was released before Aaron. “When I got out,” he says, “there was a big stash waiting for me at home.”

Morgan was five months along when she learned she was pregnant last summer. Aaron says she weaned herself off heroin during her pregnancy, if not as quickly as he wanted. That fall, someone said they witnessed Aaron sprinkling a white powder on the pavement inside Washington Square Park and slamming the powder with a rock, triggering a small explosion. “I’m making bombs to blow up the arch,” police say the witness claimed Aaron said. Not long after, Aaron says he let someone use the 9th Street apartment to take a shower. He now believes that person was an informant or an undercover cop.

At 6 a.m., on December 29, the sun hadn’t quite risen and a light snow was starting to fall. Morgan, just days from her due date, heard the knock on the door. The police said they were there because of the credit-card-fraud charge against her. Morgan seemed confused. “I know about the case,” she said. “I was told the situation was taken care of.”

She woke up Aaron. “There are cops!” He came out of the bedroom and was told to sit on the couch. By then, the police had seen the shotgun, the plastic container with a strange powder, the jerry-rigged grenade launcher. Morgan stood behind Aaron and called her mother as the police placed handcuffs on her. The officers went on to find the DIY instructions for bomb-making and booby traps and a collection of pages printed from the web with the title The Terrorist’s Encyclopedia. They soon decided that the powder was likely HMTD, enough to cause a substantial explosion, and evacuated the building as well as the buildings on either side.

The police cuffed Aaron and began to lead the couple away to separate squad cars. “I fucked up,” Aaron said. “But I love you.”

Morgan said, “I love you.”

Aaron admitted right away to making the HMTD himself. Morgan, meanwhile, seemed to distance herself from Aaron and the weapons. She said she hadn’t realized the extent of his collection. She said that after Sandy Hook, Aaron had said they ought to go buy more guns “before the law is changed.”

Aaron was jailed immediately. Morgan went into labor shortly after her arrest and was brought to St. Luke’s Hospital. Melody went directly into Morgan’s parents’ care. Morgan agreed to wear an ankle monitor, hand over her passport, and spend 30 days in a rehab center and another 30 in an outpatient facility. At her court date, she managed one stolen glance at her father, sitting two rows behind her. She mouthed Hi.


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