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Apparent overdose at jail claims life of woman charged in death of former Henry County investigator's wife
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Apparent overdose at jail claims life of woman charged in death of former Henry County investigator's wife

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Tanna Shelton Fitzgerald, 54, of Fieldale, a suspect in a sensational murder case involving a former sheriff's investigator, died following an apparent overdose while in the Henry County Jail.

A Henry County Grand Jury indicted Fitzgerald and three others in September for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the shooting death last spring of the wife of former Henry County Sheriff's Office investigator David Lee Morse.

Morse, 66, Joshua Russell, 37, and Casey Lynn Rogers, 27 were also charged in the death of Pamela S. Morse, 63.

Fitzgerald was being held without bond and had been housed in the Henry County Jail since May 20.

At approximately 5:45 p.m. Wednesday Fitzgerald notified deputies in the Henry County jail that she had taken an excessive amount of prescription blood pressure medication, a Henry County Sheriff's Office release states.

Henry County Public Safety responded to the jail and transported Fitzgerald to Sovah-Martinsville.

When Fitzgerald arrived at the hospital, she was described as "alert, coherent and not displaying any signs of medical distress," the release said.

But at 2:30 this morning Fitzgerald died at the hospital.

An autopsy performed at the Medical Examiner's Office in Roanoke did not show any obvious signs of trauma or foul play, but the results of toxicology tests are pending.

The sheriff's office conducted an investigation of Fitzgerald's death and reported those findings to the Virginia Department of Corrections, which also will conduct an investigation and review of the death.

The murder charges emerged on May 13 after David Morse reported that he arrived home from work that morning and found his wife dead of an apparent gunshot wound and her 2010 Jeep Compass missing.

The Virginia State Police took over the investigation at the request of the Henry County Sheriff's Office because David Morse is a retired investigator with HCSO.

VSP's investigators determined that David Morse, Fitzgerald, Russell and Rogers devised a plan to kill Pamela Morse when David Morse was not at home.

Russell was found in Franklin County with Pamela Morse's missing Jeep.

In addition to the murder and conspiracy charges, Fitzgerald, Russell and Rogers were indicted on a charge of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Russell and Rogers also were indicted on charges of grand larceny of a motor vehicle and possession of a firearm.

Fitzgerald was due back in Henry County Circuit Court on Nov. 16 for a bond hearing, and a 3-day jury trial had been scheduled for April 26.

Bill Wyatt is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. He can be reached at 276-638-8801, Ext. 236. Follow him @billdwyatt

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