Gina Higgins thought the knife-wielding man who pushed past her  just before closing time at Casey’s on Route MM -  minutes before 11 a.m.  on Dec. 4, 2013 - was going to stab her.
Jennifer Fraser, working the early morning shift at Abel’s at the junction of Route MM and U.S. 61 on Christmas Eve 2013, thought the same thing when a man entered the store at 3:30 a.m. demanding money.
The robberies, coming just weeks after a robbery/murder at a Shinn Lane convenience store, contributed to their state of fear.
Adam E. Morrall, Hannibal, is charged with two counts of robbery in the first degree, both Class A felonies, in conjunction with these robberies.
On Monday, April 28, following Morrall’s preliminary hearing in Hannibal, Judge John J. Jackson found probable cause and bound Morrall over for arraignment in Circuit Court at 9 a.m. May 5.
As Higgins and Fraser testified, Morrall sat silently next to public defender Jonathan Hoover, watching as the witnesses described the incidents on the nights they feared for their lives.
Katharine Dolin and Joseph Schlotzhauer of the Missouri Attorney General’s office presented the state’s case.
“I was getting ready to lock the store up,” Higgins said, referring to Casey’s General Store.
“I locked the right hand door, then waited two more minutes to lock the other door,” she said.
“The (unlocked) door opened and a guy came with a mask, a hooded jacket and gloves. He grabbed me by the arm and said he didn’t want to hurt anyone, he just wanted money.
“Another employee was in the back cleaning up the kitchen. After grabbing me by the arm, he saw (the other employee) and said ‘get out here.’
“He kept saying something about a box. He pulled me over to the register and told me to open the register. I opened the register up, he grabbed the money and kept asking for the box.”
When Higgins, a petite woman, told the man she didn’t know anything about a box, “He got mad and slammed the drawer, and change went everywhere.
“I tried to explain that I didn’t have a box. I was afraid he was going to stab” the coworker. “He slammed the money in his pocket and went out the door. On his way out, he dropped some money onto the floor.”
Fraser, an Abel’s employee, explained how she made eye-to-eye contact with the man who robbed the Abel’s store on Christmas Eve.
“I got a good look at his eyes,” she said. They were “blue, and the shape of them - oval - was distinct.”
She also got a good look at the knife the suspect was holding. She described it as a 4-inch knife with a serrated edge.
Fraser said, “I was sitting down to get a bite to eat when I was robbed. He ran and jumped the counter top and pulled a knife, and demanded all the money. He grabbed me by the arm and pulled me to the register. He put the money in his pockets, then jumped back over the countertop and left.” On the way, he dropped a $2 bill.
Prosecutor Katharine Dolin showed security videos from the  robberies to each of the witnesses, using a laptop computer turned toward the witnesses. Judge Jackson, his face cradled in his right hand, watched along.
Because the suspect in each robbery was wearing a mask, neither woman could positively identify  Adam E. Morrall as the man who robbed them.
But they did remember details, such as when the suspect slid his mask across his face so that he could talk, Higgins saw that he had a brown or black beard. And Fraser testified about the shape of the suspect’s eyes.
They both described a tall man - at least 6 foot tall - with a slender build. Both said the man had on a dark “poofy” coat.
Det. Jacob Nacke of the Hannibal Police Department was the next to testify. He said an informant shared information with the department which lead to a search of the house at 745 Clover Road on Jan. 4. They found Morrall at the bottom of the basement steps inside the home of Clyde Ward. Police recognized Morrall, Nacke said, by photos found on Facebook and in social media.
Morrall was taken from the scene by police while Det. Nacke and Det. Brian Allen searched the garage and basement of the house.
Nacke said they found gray tennis shoes, size 13, in the basement, where Morrall had apparently been living with his sister.  The shoe prints match up to a footprint found on the counter at Abel’s, he said.
The detectives also found a black bag with currency - in a zipped bag - inside. The bag also contained a pair of black gloves. Those items plus a pair of gray Nike sweatpants were seized.
Nacke said that on Jan. 9, “We were called back. Clyde Ward had located a knife at his residence” that may have been used during the robberies.