Morris twins' trial-day two

Left-to-right,  Marcus Morris, Attorney James Belanger,  Markieff Morris,  co-defendant Gerald Bowman

Day two of the Morris twins' trial in Phoenix produced more testimony from the alleged victim, Erik Hood. Hood was also cross-examined by defense counsel (per The Republic's Robert Gundran and Megan Cassidy):

On Tuesday, James Belanger, Markieff Morris' attorney, asked Hood to mark where Markieff was located during the time of the assault.

Hood said he doesn't recall Markieff assaulting him, only that he was "around the fray."

Belanger then asked about Hood's pursuit of a financial settlement with the brothers.

"I told people I wanted justice," said Hood on Tuesday. "Whether through a court of law or through some monetary gain."

Belanger and Marcus Morris’ attorney, Timothy Eckstein, showed text messages delivered from Hood to people he knew about a settlement between him and the twins.

One of the texts was from Hood's mentor, mentioning that he could set him up with someone who could request a million-dollar settlement from the twins.

Another series of texts between Hood and current Brooklyn Nets and former University of Arizona forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson were sent after Marcus and Markieff Morris were arrested. Hood texted Hollis-Jefferson, mentioning that he expected the Morrises to settle quickly.

A civil case is pending between Hood and the Morris twins.

Hood said he had a falling out with the twins in 2011 based on a text message that he said was misinterpreted by Kane.

While Eckstein didn’t deny that 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 Monday, speculating on Hood’s thoughts. “And I have it.”

Even an untrained observer can detect that we are not dealing with a clear-cut case of good versus evil. There is some definite grey in the picture, and a hung jury/mistrial is a real possibility. Only one of the eight jurors needs to vote guilty or not guilty, in opposition to the other seven, and a mistrial can be declared.

Should that occur, the prosecution has the choice of retrying the criminal case or simply letting the civil case decide right and wrong. Commissioner Adam Silver is watching the proceedings and has considerable leeway in deciding to suspend or not. That is really the wild card here.

One more important point that we may have overlooked. We know that Danny Ainge is diligent about scouting potential Celtics, but he was also associated with the Phoenix Suns for six years, three as player and three as coach. He no doubt still retains contact with NBA-savvy individuals in Phoenix and probably consulted with them about trading for Marcus Morris. I virtually guarantee he checked with some who had information on the Morris/Hood incident. As usual, we need to trust Danny and his decisions. Nowadays, he makes few mistakes.

Photo credit: Mark Henle/The Republic