CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The man accused of abducting and killing Marie Covington appeared in Chesapeake court on Thursday to face charges connected to the high-speed police chase that led to his initial arrest.

43-year-old Gary Morton appeared in Chesapeake General District Court Thursday for a hearing on the following charges:

  • Preliminary hearing: Violent felon in possession of a weapon, felony
  • Adjudicatory hearing: Elude police, felony
  • Adjudicatory hearing: DWI, misdemeanor
  • Adjudicatory hearing: Speed in excess of 85 MPH, misdemeanor
  • Adjudicatory hearing: No drivers license, misdemeanor
  • Adjudicatory hearing: Drink while driving/open container, misdemeanor
  • Adjudicatory hearing: Fail to obey highway marking, misdemeanor
  • Adjudicatory hearing: Refuse blood/breath test, civil violation

10 On Your Side’s investigative team attended the hearing, during which all of these Chesapeake charges were nolle prossed, or withdrawn, because prosecution of the case is being deferred to Norfolk. 

Chesapeake Prosecutor Julianna Meely asked a judge to nolle prosse the eight charges against Morton. She said the Chesapeake charges were “part and parcel to the case against Morton, in Norfolk.”

Morton was arrested on Aug. 20 following a police pursuit that began in Chesapeake. Court records show that a state trooper attempted to pull Morton over at 3:15 a.m. while he was driving a 2016 white Ford SUV. Morton refused to stop and proceeded to enter I-64 West in Chesapeake. He reportedly topped 115 MPH at times before exiting the interstate at Chesapeake Boulevard. He pulled into a junkyard and ran from the scene before officers arrested him.

A cell phone belonging to Morton was located in the driver’s seat of the SUV, along with two concealed semi-automatic pistols and an open container of alcohol, court records state.

Police looked up the vehicle information and discovered the SUV belonged to 40-year-old Covington, whose family reported her missing from her Virginia Beach home on Aug. 18. The family told Virginia Beach police that she was last seen in the Ford with Morton on the evening of Aug. 17.

State police contacted VBPD after arresting Morton and advised them of their discovery. According to the VBPD, detectives responded and continued their investigation into Covington’s disappearance, which led them to believe that foul play was possible. That is when the agency requested that the VSP issue a Critically Missing Adult Alert for Covington.

VSP issued the alert at 9:50 p.m. on Aug. 20. The VBPD issued a tweet announcing Covington was missing and endangered at 10:49 p.m. A few minutes later, scanner traffic revealed that Covington was discovered shot to death on Galt Street in Norfolk. Police later confirmed that Covington was murdered.

“The Virginia Beach Police Department has opened an inquiry into the timeline of our initial response, reporting, and public notification,” the agency wrote in a statement released to the media on August 23.

Morton is facing many charges across Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach, including abduction, second-degree murder, and use of a firearm. At the time of Covington’s disappearance, he was out on bond in a felony strangulation case in Norfolk. Prosecutors said he was granted bond after the victim in that case could not attend several scheduled court hearings due to military obligations.