Jeffery Bernard Morris, the accused murderer of poker player Susie Zhao, has had his case remanded to its originating court as prosecutors continue fleshing out an additional charge of felony murder against him.
Morris’s trial in an Oakland County (Michigan) Circuit Court was scheduled to get underway this month, with the 60-year drifter and convicted sex offender already facing a charge of premeditated, first-degree murder in the death of Zhao, whose bound and burned body was discovered in the parking lot of an Oakland County nature refuge on July 13, 2020.
However, Circuit Court Judge Martha Anderson ordered the case returned to the 52-2 District Court where charges were first filed so the additional charge or charges can be appended to the case. A felony murder charge can be added when the murder occurs during the commission of another felony; in this case, investigators had ready evidence of both kidnapping and sexual assault, and a charge or charges of that nature may also be considered.
Morris was identified as Zhao’s likely killer from phone records and surveillance video obtained by investigators, after the two had met at a motel in White Lake Township, just west of Dearborn, Michigan. Officers tracked down Morris, who already had a long list of convictions on various charges in Michigan and Florida.
Morris was denied bond at his initial court appearance and remains held in an Oakland County jail. The remanding of his case means that his initial trial date has been cancelled. No new date for his trial on the expanded charges will be set until those charges are finalized by prosecutors.
Did you like this article?