State Forced To Drop Sex Assault, Kidnap Charges After Victim's Overdose Death

A state prosecutor was forced to drop a sexual assault and kidnapping case against a Hartford man after the alleged victim, his live-in girlfriend of five years, overdosed and died.

Prosecutor Donna Mambrino told Hartford Superior Court Judge Laura F. Baldini that without a victim, she could not prove her case against Ryan Morton, 23, and that she had to nolle, or decline to prosecute, the case.

Morton, who lived on Park Street with his girlfriend, was charged in June 2017 with first-degree sexual assault by use of force, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree unlawful restraint, third-degree assault and second-degree strangulation for the Jan. 9, 2017, incident in Hartford.

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Deron & Donald Freeman
For the Freemans, a father-son legal team comes full circle

Deron Freeman didn't realize it at the time, but the seminal moment in his emerging law practice was the day his attorney-father Donald Freeman fired him in 2005.

"He really did it as a favor," the son says now, sitting behind his desk at The Law Offices of Deron Freeman, on Linden Place in Hartford. "He didn't need an extra associate. He brought me in the office one day and said, 'Listen, I can't pay you anymore. Time for you to go out on your own.' At first I was devastated.''

The job with his dad was Deron's first as a lawyer. He graduated from Western New England School of Law in 2000. After leaving his father's practice, Freeman soon discovered it "was actually the best thing that ever happened to me. … I doubled my salary."

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