Jeffery Bernard Morris, the man accused of killing professional poker player Susie Zhao had a pretrial hearing last week and received a new trial date. The 61-year-old accused faces two counts of felony murder in Michigan’s Oakland County Circuit Court for allegedly killing Zhao. As per news reports, the poker player’s deceased body was found badly burned and mutilated in a state recreation area in July 2020.
According to media reports, Morris’ trial was to begin in 2021 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a clerical error, and changes in counsel as the case was given to the Circuit Court. The pretrial hearing was held on Zoom which was attended by Morris who wore an orange jumpsuit. Oakland Circuit Judge Martha Anderson scheduled a new trial date for 26th September 2022. According to court documents, before the trial was rescheduled, it was slated for 16th June.
ALSO READ: Poker Pro Susie Zhao Found Dead In Michigan
As per the Oakland Press, the date was changed on the defense attorney Michael McCarthy’s request, who replaced Pamela Johnson as Morris’ counsel in December 2021. McCarthy, while requesting for a later date said, “My predecessor had the case for well over a year.” He also added that Morris had raised “investigative issues…that apparently weren’t raised before.”
Susie Zhao grew up in Michigan after immigrating from China as a young child. She was a regular at the Los Angeles poker scene and even appeared in Bicycle Casino’s ‘Live at the Bike’ cash game stream. According to Hendon Mob, Zhao had cashed $22,671 in live tournament earnings. She finished 90th in the 2015 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event for $73,805.
As per news reports, Morris, a convicted sex offender with a violent criminal history allegedly met Zhao at Sherwood Motel in Michigan in July 2020. Zhao was reported to be sexually assaulted, bound, and set on fire by Morris. The 33-year-old had recently moved back to Michigan after living in Los Angeles.
Morris was first charged with first-degree premeditated murder in September 2020. A second murder charge was added later as more details emerged in the case. He remains in custody at the Oakland County jail.
Donna Amo is a writer at Gutshot Magazine. She is a graduate from Sophia College of Women, Mumbai with a degree in English Literature. When this October born foodie is not writing content or poetry, she spends her time laughing at memes or watching series. Based out of Mizoram, she is drawn to all things nature and has a soft spot for puppies.
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