One by one, more than 10 witnesses on Wednesday told jurors that they rarely, if ever, saw so-called ghost employee Delbert Morgan actually do any work during the four years he received a paycheck from the Knox County Trustee's Office.
"No," said a former clerk and former offensive tackle Jarvis Reado, a member of the 1998 University of Tennessee football team that won the National Championship, when asked.
"Once every couple of weeks," he would enter the downtown tax collections office," added Kimberly Rogers, a customer service supervisor.
"Sporadic," said Amy Dobbins, referring to how often she saw him. "Sometimes once a week, sometimes once a month."
Prosecutors spent much of Day 2 focusing on Morgan's absence.
They noted that he didn't have a key card that enabled him to easily access the downtown City County Building, like the others who work there, and that he was rarely seen inside the fourth floor office.
They also called witnesses who worked throughout the department's satellite offices, and they, too, didn't recall seeing Morgan. Some, including Reado, couldn't even identify him in the courtroom.
Another noted that he was never included on an employee phone list during his four years with the office.
Morgan's attorney, Jeff Daniel, at times pointed out that Morgan's role wouldn't bring him in contact with some of the witnesses. He also said that "working can mean different things to different people."
On Monday, he argued that Morgan was paid a salary to do a certain job – overseeing a program to get surplus county property back on the tax roll – and that he earned his keep.
Morgan, a 58-year-old Grainger County businessman and City of Blaine alderman, faces two felony counts of theft of more than $60,000. The charges each carry a $25,000 fine and each are punishable by eight to 12 years in prison.
A former field auditor in the department, he turned himself over to authorities in late April 2012 after a grand jury that met in secret for more than a year changed him with multiple counts of felony theft.
The grand jury at the time also indicted several other former employees, including ex-longtime Knox County Trustee Mike Lowe and another supposed ghost employee, Ray Mubarak, who also were charged with a number of theft charges.
Additionally, prosecutors John Gill and Bill Bright said Mubarak also received money in a property title search scheme.
Morgan and Mubarak, also a field auditor, both abruptly resigned on March 8, 2008 – about the same time Fred Sisk, Lowe's successor, took over.