William Charles Morva

  • DOC Number: 1205820.[1]
  • Inmate Number: 387481.[1]
  • Venue: Washington County.[2]
  • Victims:
    • Russell Quesenberry.[3]
    • Derrick McFarland.[3]
    • Eric Sutphin.[3]
  • Crimes:
    • Assaulting a law enforcement officer upon Russell Quesenberry.[3]
    • Escape.[3]
    • Use of a firearm in the commission of the murder of Derrick McFarland.[3]
    • Use of a firearm in the commission of the murder of Eric Sutphin.[3]
    • Capital murder of Derrick McFarland.[3]
    • Capital murder of Eric Sutphin.[3]
    • Capital murder of Derrick McFarland and Eric Sutphin (murder of more than one person within a three-year period).[3]
  • Current Location: Sussex I State Prison.[1]
  • Status: Petition for writ of certiorari challenging the Supreme Court of Virginia’s affirmation of death sentence denied.[4]
  • As of: October 4, 2010.[4]

Summary of crime:

From Morva v. Commonwealth [emphasis mine throughout]:

In the summer of 2006, [William Charles] Morva was in jail awaiting trial on charges of attempted burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, burglary, attempted robbery, and use of a firearm. He had been in jail for approximately one year. While in jail he wrote a letter to his mother stating, “I will kick an unarmed guard in the neck and make him drop. Then I’ll stomp him until he is as dead as I’ll be.”

Morva was scheduled to go to trial on August 23, 2006. In the evening on August 19, 2006, he informed the jail personnel that he required medical attention due to an injury to his leg and forearm. During the early morning hours of August 20, 2006, Sheriff’s Deputy Russell Quesenberry, who was in uniform and armed with a Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, transported Morva to the Montgomery Regional Hospital located in Montgomery County. Morva was wearing waist chains, but Deputy Quesenberry did not secure Morva’s allegedly injured arm.

Upon arrival at the hospital, Morva “kept trying” to walk on Deputy Quesenberry’s right side even though he was ordered to walk on Deputy Quesenberry’s left side. Quesenberry was required to have Morva walk on his left because Quesenberry wore his gun on his right side. Quesenberry observed that Morva’s limping was sporadic and “sort of went away.” Also, Nurse Melissa Epperly observed Morva walking as if he were not injured.

After the hospital treated Morva, Morva requested to use the bathroom. Deputy Quesenberry inspected the bathroom and allowed Morva access. While in the bathroom, Morva removed a metal toilet paper holder that was screwed to the wall. As Deputy Quesenberry entered the bathroom, Morva attacked him with the metal toilet paper holder, breaking Quesenberry’s nose, fracturing his face, and knocking him unconscious. Morva then took Quesenberry’s gun. Prior to leaving the bathroom, Morva confirmed that Quesenberry’s gun was ready to fire, ejecting a live round from the chamber.

After escaping from the bathroom, Morva encountered Derrick McFarland, an unarmed hospital security guard. Morva pointed Quesenberry’s gun at McFarland’s face. McFarland stood with his hands out by his side and palms facing Morva. Despite McFarland’s apparent surrender, Morva shot McFarland in the face from a distance of two feet and ran out of the hospital, firing five gunshots into the electronic emergency room doors when they would not open. McFarland died from the gunshot to his face.

In the morning of August 21, 2006, Morva was seen in Montgomery County near “Huckleberry Trail,” a paved path for walking and bicycling. Corporal Eric Sutphin, who was in uniform and armed, responded to that information by proceeding to “Huckleberry Trail.”

Andrew J. Duncan observed Morva and then later observed Corporal Sutphin on “Huckleberry Trail.” Four minutes later, Duncan heard two gunshots, less than a second apart. David Carter, who lived nearby, heard shouting, followed by two gunshots, and saw Corporal Sutphin fall to the ground.

Shortly thereafter, Officer Brian Roe discovered Corporal Sutphin, who was dead from a gunshot to the back of his head. Corporal Sutphin’s gun was still in its holster with the safety strap engaged. Officer Roe confiscated Corporal Sutphin’s gun to secure it and continued to search for Morva.

Later that day, Officer Ryan Hite found Morva lying in a ditch in thick grass. Even though Morva claimed to be unarmed, officers discovered Quesenberry’s gun on the ground where Morva had been lying. Morva’s DNA was found on the trigger and handle of Quesenberry’s gun.[5]

  1. “Offender Locator.” Virginia Department of Corrections 11 Oct. 2010. <http://www.vadoc.state.va.us/offenders/locator/index.cfm>. [] [] []
  2. Morva v. Commonwealth, 278 Va. 329, 683 S.E.2d 553 (2009), cert. denied, Morva v. Virginia, ___ U.S. ___ (2010). []
  3. Morva v. Commonwealth, 278 Va. 329, 335, 683 S.E.2d 553, 556 (2009), cert. denied, Morva v. Virginia, ___ U.S. ___ (2010). [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []
  4. Morva v. Virginia, ___ U.S. ___ (2010). [] []
  5. Morva v. Commonwealth, 278 Va. 329, 335-337, 683 S.E.2d 553, 556-557 (2009), cert. denied, Morva v. Virginia, ___ U.S. ___ (2010). []


  1. 33Chauncey says:

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  2. Joana Isabel says:

    I have read something about this man….I’m a memeber of Amnesty International—–and I am against Death Penalty….So….I want this man not to be executed……Death Penalty is not a solution. Please…tell this to the people who is in charge of this case….

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