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Battery Case Against Robber Dropped

December 01, 1987

A battery charge against convicted teen-age bank robber Michael Scott Morrison, who was accused of beating a fellow Pierce College student, was dismissed Monday in Van Nuys Municipal Court.

The Los Angeles city attorney's office dropped the misdemeanor charge stemming from a Sept. 15 fight because, "apparently, the evidence indicated it was a situation involving mutual combat," spokesman Mike Qualls said.

Although Los Angeles police pursued the battery case against Morrison, there were no witnesses to the start of the fight between Morrison and Jason Gilbert, 18, of Canoga Park, said Morrison's attorney, Roger J. Diamond.

"They had no case," Diamond said. "The charge should never have been filed in the first place."

The fight apparently was the result of an ongoing dispute between Morrison and Gilbert, police said. Months earlier, when Morrison had been running for a post in Pierce's student government, Gilbert had quit as his campaign manager when he learned of a bank robbery in Morrison's past, police said.

Morrison, 19, of Tarzana pleaded guilty in June to a 1985 bank robbery and the theft of a car at gunpoint. Morrison, who was tried as an adult, was 16 at the time of the incidents.

He was sentenced to five years in California Youth Authority custody and is free on $50,000 bail pending the outcome of his appeal.

An accomplice, Mark Berman, 18, pleaded guilty to armed robbery in 1985 in Sylmar Juvenile Court and was sentenced to Youth Authority custody.

After the battery charge was filed in the fall, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office tried to revoke Morrison's bail in the bank-robbery case, but withdrew the attempt, prosecutors said.

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