TAMPA, Fla. -- A longtime friend of murder suspect Mikese Morse says Morse is in serious need of help, and that sending him to prison is not the answer.

  • Vance Brown a friend of Morse for 20 years
  • Morse visited with Brown the day before incident
  • Morse was erratic during earlier visit, Brown recalls

Vance Brown remembers the moment he found out Morse, his friend of 20 years, was arrested for deliberately killing a father of two on New Tampa Road June 24. 

"I just broke down in tears, man," said Brown. "I just started boo-hoo crying, maybe like 5-10 minutes before i could actually get myself together."

Morse had just visited Brown the day before authorities say Morse, 30, deliberately ran down Pedro Aguerreberry, 42.  Brown says Morse told him he felt "good, free and untouchable."

Extreme behavior difference

The visit was brief and it was a sharp contrast to one that happened days earlier, when Morse was released from Gracepoint Medical following his fourth Baker Act. That incident, authorities say, stemmed from Morse showing up to the District 2 Tampa Police station acting erratically and making wild claims.

Brown says his visit with Morse lasted three hours, with Morse telling him how he was able to get out of the facility and what he was planning to do. 

"He said he had done talked himself out of it," Brown said. "They was trying to keep him in there, but he knew more than they knew, but he was able to get out." 

Brown said Morse, a former college long jumper at USF, also said he "got into it with the people at Gracepoint," also adding that "I'm just not myself. I feel like i'm going to do something to somebody and I just don't know." 

"It was very scary," Brown said. "He just kept rambling and rambling."

"He needs help"

Brown immediately called Morse's brother and told him about the visit. He says he was "scared and concerned," because this was not a side of Morse he'd ever seen. 

"He's not that person," he said. "He's a real good person, real loving person into family. He used to come out here on the trampoline and jump for the kids and do tricks for the kids, and they just loved it."

Morse is now being held on a first-degree premeditated murder charge. Brown blames Gracepoint Medical for discharging Morse, even though Morse stayed at the facility longer than the mandated 72 hours required by law. 

"He needs help," Brown said. "He needs to be in a mental facility. He needs to get the serious help that he needs, whatever that is.  But to jail him, prison, that's not going to work."

A pre-detention hearing was scheduled for June 28, but it was postponed until next week.