Saturday's hammer attack was on suspect's girlfriend, best friend

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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A Battle Ground man appeared Monday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of bashing the heads of his girlfriend and his best friend with a hammer early Saturday after finding them in bed together at the friend’s house in Vancouver.

Marcus A. Morrison, 30, faces charges at his Dec. 6 arraignment of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted murder domestic violence and first-degree burglary in connection with the attack.

The victims, Rena Donnelly and Aaron Warner, both received potentially life-threatening injuries: fractured skulls and bleeding on the brain, said Deputy Prosecutor Luka Vitasovic.

Warner was in satisfactory condition Monday at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Donnelly’s condition was not available.

Judge Robert Lewis held Morrison on $300,000 bail and appointed Vancouver attorney Jeff Sowder to defend him against the charges.

The night before the attack, Morrison, Donnelly and Warner went out drinking together, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in court. Sometime late Friday or early Saturday, the trio went to Main Street Station Bar & Grill in Battle Ground. While inside the bar, Morrison got into a confrontation with Donnelly’s ex-boyfriend, the affidavit states. Donnelly then told Morrison that she wanted to break up with him, and Morrison left the bar, according to court documents.

Donnelly and Warner later went to Warner’s house in Vancouver and fell asleep together in Warner’s bed while watching television, the affidavit says.

Morrison entered the house without permission and found Donnelly and Warner in bed together, court documents say. He found a hammer and returned to the bedroom, where he pulled the covers off of the sleeping pair, waking them up, court documents say.

“ ‘You’re supposed to be my friend,’ ” Morrison said, according to court documents. He struck Warner in the head with the hammer and then struck Donnelly in the head with it, court documents say.

Morrison told police he suspected that the two victims were having an affair, and he walked from his grandmother’s house in Battle Ground to Warner’s residence in Vancouver to find out if they were together. He said he blacked out after seeing the couple in bed together, court documents say. The next thing he remembered was Warner’s roommate asking him why he was holding a hammer, the documents say.