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Closing arguments are expected Thursday in the trial of Marcus and Markieff Morris. The video feed is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. EDT, 10:30 am MST. Prosecutors in Phoenix, Arizona say the twins, both professional basketball players, beat up 36-year-old Erik Hood outside a recreation center on Jan. 24, 2015.
The defendants were friends with the alleged victim for years, but police say they had a falling out over text messages Hood sent to the twins’ mother. This feud culminated in the alleged 2015 attack. Hood told cops he was talking to a friend of the Morris brothers when he was attacked from behind. The twins and three other men punched and kicked him as he tried to escape, Hood said. Investigators claim the alleged assailants escaped in a Rolls Royce, while Hood said he sustained a broken nose and bruises to the head. Three other alleged attackers were also charged. Two pleaded guilty last week, and the third man, Gerald Bowman, stands trial with the brothers. Each of the accused is represented by a different attorney.
The defense blames the attack on Julius Kane and Christopher Melendez, the men who pleaded guilty. They claim Hood pinned the attack on the Morris brothers because they were rich, and he thought he could make money off the allegations.
Prosecutors have rested their case. The Morris brothers also rested their case without either twin taking the stand.
Bowman’s legal time presented his side of the story on Wednesday. First up to testify: Barber Joshua Joe. The defense used him to establish an alibi for Bowman.
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Joe testified he gave the defense texts from the day of the alleged attack, but the state claimed the defense didn’t give them those messages. Prosecutor Daniel Fisher tried to undermine these during cross-examination, pointing out that 1) the timestamps on the messages showed no year, just the time and calendar day; and 2) it wasn’t clear which phone numbers were involved.
Bowman’s friend Abigail Howell took the stand next. She also established an alibi–He got a haircut that day. They and some other friends later went to a nightclub.
Bowman was the last person on the stand. He testified to never knowing Hood nor Hood’s friend Sharika Sherrod (she claimed to have seen the alleged assault). Bowman said he wasn’t even at the rec center at the time of the alleged beating, he said. A former NFL prospect, he said he didn’t even learn about the charges pressed against him until shortly before the 2015 League draft. He claimed the criminal allegation derailed his football career.
His side rested their case that same day.
The twins are facing two counts each of aggravated assault. If convicted, they’d be suspended for at least 10 games under NBA policy because this is a violent felony. Marcus Morris joined the Boston Celtics this off-season, and Markieff Morris is a forward for the Washington Wizards. Missing games is the least of their worries, though: they also face up to four years in prison.
Stay with LawNewz.com and the LawNewz Network for continuing coverage of the trial.
[Screengrab via Detroit Pistons]