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The trial of Marcus and Markieff Morris continues Tuesday in Phoenix, Arizona, starting at 1:30 p.m. EST, 10:30 am MST. Prosecutors 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.
On Monday, Jose Rivera, who did not know the Morris brothers or Hood personally, said he saw the twins at the rec center on the day of the alleged assault. He said that he saw Hood getting beat up, but didn’t see either of the brothers attack the alleged victim, though one twin, Marcus, was near the incident. Rivera that claimed a man at the scene, Alonzo Hickerson, asked him to embellish his account of the beating, and that he could make some money if he did–he refused.
Joe Murray, another witness, also testified to being in the area at the time of the alleged assault.
Detective Fred Santos testified next for the prosecution. He said he interviewed Hood and a friend who brought the alleged victim to the hospital. According to him, the Morris brothers claimed multiple times that Hood was a stranger. The defense tried to bury him on cross-examination, attempting to point out that cops actually spent a lot of resources on this. It was just a regular assault case. They tried to point out that the investigation was spotty, that Santos didn’t attempt to get from Hood the text message to the Morris brothers’ mother.
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 NBA]