Police say Topsfield man had expansive weapons stockpile

Police found a large pressure cooker and fertilizer, items for bomb making, in Morley’s closet in Topsfield.
Police found a large pressure cooker and fertilizer, items for bomb making, in Morley’s closet in Topsfield.COURT DOCUMENT/handout

TOPSFIELD — A 27-year-old man arrested last month after attacking his mother and threatening to blow up an airplane had filled his home with an arsenal of weapons and bomb-making materials, including a large pressure cooker like those used in the Marathon bombings, police said in a recently unsealed sworn statement.

Daniel Morley, a technician who spent seven years working in the division of comparative medicine at MIT, also had ball bearings and fertilizer, a shotgun and pistol, hundreds of rounds of high-caliber ammunition, swords, knives, and anti-Semitic and antigovernment literature, according to the statement.

Morley said he was about to do something he considered beyond the pale.


“I’m sorry for what I have done . . . and I will have to answer only to God,” he told his mother, according to the court records.

FBI officials said they are assisting local and State Police in the investigation, but declined to comment about any possible connection between Morley and a friend he said had boxed with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the alleged Marathon bombers. Morley apparently broke off a close friendship with that man.

Morley was arrested June 9 after his mother, Glenda Duckworth, and her boyfriend, David Bloss, fled their home and flagged down local police, telling them her son had attacked them and threatened to burn down their house. After a nearly four-hour standoff with police, Morley was charged with two counts of assault and battery and making a bomb threat that forced the evacuation of much of their neighborhood.

Morley was held on $20,000 bail after being arraigned last month in Ipswich District Court in Newburyport and has been held at Bridgewater State Hospital for evaluation.

“The ultimate safety of the public is our primary concern, and that’s why we’re investigating the case,” said Evan Haglund, chief of the Topsfield Police Department.


Robert LeBlanc, a Methuen lawyer representing Morley, said his client had suffered a psychotic break from reality after failing to take medicine.

“My view of this is that it was an unfortunate and harmless situation, which I expect will be rationally resolved once we have a report from Bridgewater,” he said. “There’s no indication that he intended or had any capacity for harm.”

He said Duckworth told him the pressure cooker found in her son’s closet was there for “something other than what police concluded.”

He added: “I don’t think there is any Tsarnaev connection.”

Duckworth declined to comment when reached by phone.

In a restraining order she filed last month, she said she came home June 9 to find her son livid. When she tried to make him a sandwich, she said he grabbed her glasses off her face and tried to burn them on the stove. As she protested, he ripped off a heart pendant that he and her other son had given her for Mother’s Day.

Morley then allegedly dragged his mother by the arm into the living room, pushed her down, and drew a cat’s face on her face. “Witch burn in hell,” he chanted, according to court records. After she fled into a bathroom, she said, her son attacked Bloss, who had been sleeping.

In April, Duckworth told investigators she was shocked to hear her son’s response after she told him about the Marathon bombings. “What’s the big deal, people are dying all over the place,” he said, according to the sworn statement.


She also told investigators the family had no idea Morley had stockpiled weapons and bomb-making materials, saying he would become furious if she or her boyfriend entered his room.

Morley is due back in Ipswich District Court Thursday for a pretrial hearing.

David Abel can be reached at dabel@globe.com.