Morris twins' trial-day one

Erik Hood testifying in court

Here is a brief summation of the court proceedings against Marcus and Markieff Morris that took place in Phoenix yesterday, Monday, September 18, 2017. Here are much-abbreviated opening statements by the prosecution and defense in the case (per The Republic's Megan Cassidy):

Prosecutors: 'An orchestrated attack'

Fisher said the defendants “aided” each other during the assault, and jurors should consider the crime as a group effort as well as individual acts.

“This was an orchestrated attack by five men, including these three defendants,” Fisher said. “Each of them (served) a role.”

Defense: Money, greed and resentment

“You're going to hear about money, you're going to hear about greed, and you're going to hear about resentment.”
James Belanger, Markieff Morris' attorney
Marcus Morris’ attorney, Timothy Eckstein, was the first to speak. While Eckstein didn’t deny Hood was assaulted, he placed the blame solely on Kane and Melendez, the two defendants who pleaded guilty.

Eckstein said Hood, who had known the Morrises since growing up in north Philadelphia, was pointing the finger at his clients in hopes for a payout. He alleged that Hood, who works as a talent scout, had only befriended the two to try to facilitate a recruitment to the NBA.

But their relationship soured, Eckstein said, and Hood saw this attack as his second shot at the twins.

“The lottery ticket has come back,” Eckstein said, speculating on Hood’s thoughts. “And I have it.”

James Belanger, Markieff Morris’ attorney, followed this thread.

“You’re going to hear about money, you’re going to hear about greed, and you’re going to hear about resentment,” he told the jurors. “Those are three things that make people tick.”

Defense attorneys said Kane and Melendez will testify that only they attacked Hood. Eckstein said the beef with Kane and Hood stemmed from years earlier, when Hood failed to pay up after losing some bets.

Erik Hood, the alleged victim in this case, did take the stand yesterday. Here is a small portion of his testimony (via The Republic's Megan Cassidy):

Hood was the first witness called to the stand Monday afternoon. In sometimes tearful testimony, Hood described how all five of the defendants were present while he was being beat outside of the gym.

He said he remembered Kane holding him down and Marcus Morris kicking him. When asked by Fisher where Marcus kicked him, Hood replied, “Where didn’t he kick me?”

It should be noted that opening statements by the prosecution and defense are not testimony. The statements are, for the most part, meant to transmit to the jury what both sides are planning to prove during the course of the trial.

Erik Hood's statements do constitute sworn testimony and are made under oath. The trial is expected to last 10 days. There will be more updates.

The prosecution is stating that the
attack was planned and orchestrated. The defense is saying that their clients did not take part in the alleged attack, and that Hood was pointing a finger at the twins out of revenge and profit.

It will be interesting to see if Christopher Melendez and Julius Kane will in fact testify that they alone conducted the attack. They have already pled guilty and await sentencing in October.

Photo via Mark Henle/The Republic