Posted on: October 3, 2022, 06:53h.
Final up to date on: October 3, 2022, 07:01h.
The trial of a transient intercourse offender accused of murdering skilled poker participant Susie “Susie Q” Zhao acquired underway Monday on the Oakland County Circuit Courtroom in Michigan.
Jeffrey Morris, 62, is charged with first-degree premeditated homicide and felony homicide. Prosecutors say he sexually assaulted 30-year-old Zhao earlier than dousing her physique in petroleum and setting her on fireplace whereas she was nonetheless alive.
Chief prosecutor John Skrzynski mentioned Monday that Morris used Zhao to make his “pornographic fantasies come true after which burned her alive,” as reported by The Oakland Press.
Zhao’s burnt physique was found by two native males on the Pontiac Lake Recreation Space in Oakland County, Mich. in July 2020.
Her wrists had been certain with zip ties. There was in depth harm to her genitals. Round 90% of the physique’s floor space had been burned, in keeping with the coroner’s report. She was recognized by her fingerprints.
Zhao had just lately returned to her native Michigan after a decade in California pursuing a profession as a high-stakes poker participant. She had internet profession event earnings of $224,671, in keeping with the Hendon Mob Database, however she was predominantly a money sport participant.
“She was a free spirit within the truest sense. She performed by her personal guidelines, adopted her goals,” mates mentioned at a July 2020 police press convention. “All people liked her.
Skrzynski mentioned Monday he believed Zhao was affected by schizophrenia on the time of her homicide, a element beforehand unreported.
Morris was arrested by White Lake police and an FBI activity power ten days after the invention of the physique. He was driving west alongside I-275, round 30 miles from the place the physique was discovered.
He sustained accidents throughout his arrest and was charged with homicide whereas nonetheless in his hospital mattress. He has a prolonged legal document, together with a 1989 conviction for rape.
Morris Needs ‘Vindication’
Skrzynski instructed the jury that cellphone proof can be offered that confirmed Morris and Zhao had been collectively within the hours main as much as her killing. He mentioned that their telephones had been current close to the Pontiac Lake Recreation Space on the approximate time of the homicide.
Morris was additionally caught on safety cameras allegedly shoplifting cable ties and petroleum jelly at a close-by retailer.
Protection lawyer Michael McCarthy will argue the proof in opposition to his consumer is basically circumstantial. McCarthy mentioned Morris had been wanting ahead to “his day for vindication” in courtroom after two years within the county jail. Whereas Zhao unquestionably suffered a “horrible dying,” there have been no eyewitnesses to the killing, McCarthy added.
Skrzynski says he has 17 potential witnesses.
The trial is anticipated to final per week.