1 of 2 brothers pleads guilty for shortened sentence in CPD Officer Ella French murder case

Thursday, October 12, 2023
1 of 2 men charged in murder of CPD Officer Ella French pleads guilty
Eric Morgan plead guilty and took a seven year sentence plea deal for his involvement in the 2021 murder of CPD Officer Ella French.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A plea hearing was held Thursday morning for one of two brothers charged in the murder of Chicago Police Officer Ella French.

NOTE: The video in the player above is from a previous report.

Eric Morgan plead guilty and took a seven year sentence plea deal.

Officers packed the courtroom in a show of support for French and her family. Officer French's mother was present, along with members of the Fraternal Order of Police.

There was hardly a dry eye in the courtroom Thursday morning as fallen Officer Ella French's mother read a victim impact statement just moments after Morgan agreed to the plea deal offered to him. It is a deal that could see him out of prison in as little as a year and a half.

"I am giving you the maximum I can, but I don't believe it's enough," Judge Ursula Walowski said to Morgan.

That was a sentiment echoed by Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara, who blamed a 2021 law change that prevented Morgan from being charged with murder.

"Eric Morgan is basically walking away with a slap on the wrist," Catanzara said. "When if he had done this 5 weeks earlier, he'd be looking at life in prison, because of the Safety Act and the elimination of felony murder."

Eric Morgan was driving the car the night of August 7 2021, when prosecutors said his brother and backseat passenger Emonte Morgan shot and killed Chicago Police Officer Ella French, and critically injured her partner Carlos Yañez during a traffic stop in Englewood.

While Eric Morgan is not accused of pulling the trigger, prosecutors said he took the gun used to shoot French and Yañez that night and ran, in an attempt to dispose of it.

SEE ALSO | Man gets half max sentence for providing gun used to kill Chicago Police Officer Ella French

Morgan pled guilty to three felony counts, including unlawful use of a weapon.

"There was no sense in going to trial in this matter," his attorney Roger Brown said. "He felt the evidence would be insufficient to find him not guilty of these charges."

Speaking during today's hearing, Ella French's mother directly addressed Morgan.

"My faith tells me I should forgive. I can't do that now," she said.

Morgan responded to the victim's mother.

"I wish I could take back that night, but you can't take back time," he said. "I still believe my brother is innocent."

Emonte Morgan remains incarcerated as he awaits his trial on first degree murder charges.

READ MORE | Surveillance video shows traffic stop before fatal shooting of CPD Officer Ella French; 2 charged