A Houston man accused of fatally shooting and dismembering a friend then stashing his body parts near their home will remain jailed without bond, a judge ordered Wednesday.
The order came during the first court appearance for Noe Gerardo Morin, 32, who has been charged with murder in the death this past weekend of his 35-year-old roommate, Marlon Thomas.
"He's considered a habitual offender and because of that we have requested no bond from the judge," prosecutor Lisa Collins told reporters after the brief court hearing.
Court records show Morin has an extensive criminal record dating back to at least 1998. He has been charged with auto theft, aggravated assault, marijuana possession and felony weapon possession, and served prison time for the assault and weapons charges.
Morin said little during the court hearing.
Noe's attorney, Steven Greenlee, said he is still gathering information about the case.
"The process is still under investigation," he said. "I have not seen a complete police report. Until such time, I cannot tell you the direction I'm going to head or what my strategy is. I need to speak with Mr. Morin more and in depth."
Police found Thomas' head and an arm in a trash bag under their apartment building, and his headless body was discovered underneath some debris in the backyard of a vacant Houston house next door. A chainsaw was found next to the trash bag. Officials say Thomas died of a gunshot to the head and that he was later dismembered.
Collins said neighbors reported hearing one to two gunshots coming from the backyard of the home early on Saturday morning.
Neighbors described Thomas and Morin as best friends and speculated that a dispute over money or drugs might have led to the slaying.
In a probable cause affidavit filed in the case, police say that Morin showed a neighbor Thomas' body and then allegedly told the neighbor, "that is what (Morin) does when people steal from him."
During the court hearing, Collins repeated this statement that Morin is alleged to have made to his neighbor. But Collins did not elaborate on what might have been stolen.
Authorities have not said if Morin used the chainsaw that was found near Thomas' severed head to dismember the body but when asked if Morin had done that, Collins responded, "That would make sense wouldn't it."
Neighbors did not recall hearing the sound of a chainsaw. One neighbor told police that he fixed the chainsaw at Morin's request after Thomas had been killed. The neighbor did not know what had happened until Morin showed him the body.
Both Collins and Greenlee said they were not aware of Morin having any mental health issues.