‘Not an ordinary case’: Bail again denied for couple accused of stealing babies’ identities

They will remain in the federal detention center, but not because they're accused of being spies, but the judge is more concerned they're flight risks.
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 9:41 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2022 at 10:00 PM CDT
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Kapolei couple accused of stealing the identities of dead kids failed in their second bid to get bail.

But the additional suspicion ― that they’re Russian spies ― was not a factor in Monday’s ruling.

Instead, U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi said Walter Primrose and Gwynn Morrison could flee prosecution. She upheld a previous court ruling that the two should be detained pending trial.

Kobayashi did not consider the additional information that the two are Russian spies, which the government has repeatedly argued.

Primrose and Morrison are charged with allegedly stealing the identities of dead babies more than 30 years ago.


“The court was very clear, she is not taking into consideration any of the KGB misinformation or rumors,” said Megan Kau, attorney for Morrison.

Kau and Max Mizuno, attorney for Primrose, asked for the couple’s release with ankle monitors.

The judge refused. “This is not an ordinary identity theft case,” she said.

Kobayashi seemed perplexed by the motive behind the alleged crimes.

Usually when someone steals an identity, it’s for financial gain or to avoid prosecution.

But in this case, the two had no criminal background and lived uneventful lives.

Still, the lack of ties to the community bothered Kobayashi.

Their two Oahu homes could be seized by the government, which said they were purchased under fake names.

“You can’t release people who don’t have anywhere to go,” said Alexander Silvert, a retired federal public defender who agreed that release would be premature.

The government is not abandoning their theory that the two could be foreign agents.

In a new court filing, prosecutors released details from a small portion of what they said is Morrison’s journal.

The entry is titled, “12 things I would take with me if I had to flee my present life (Again?)”

Morrison's journal entry, according to federal prosecutors
Morrison's journal entry, according to federal prosecutors(Court exhibit)

Also part of the new filing, transcripts of a recorded conversation after the couple’s arrest at the FBI building.

The government said the two repeatedly snapped their fingers, possibly to drown out some of their words.

The transcripts said the two were concerned about safes found in their Kapolei home during a search by agents.

“When they break into the safes ... they’ll have Carol’s phone number,” they allegedly said.

According to transcripts, Morrison also said to her husband “we have the protocols.”

Primrose retired from the Coast Guard after more than 20 years under the name Bobby Edward Fort. The Coast Guard has now suspended his retirement pay, according to a letter in the court record.

Their trial is scheduled for Sept. 26.

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