Morris twins' trial update-September 22, 2017

Marcus Morris speaks with his attorney

The criminal trial against Marcus and Markieff Morris continued on Wednesday and Thursday, September 20 & 21, with the alleged victim's friend, Sherika Sherad, testifying for the prosecution (via The Republic's Uriel Garcia):

A friend of the man accusing two former Phoenix Suns players of beating him in 2015 testified Thursday that she saw either Marcus or Markieff Morris, along with other men, beat the victim so badly that she had to take him to an emergency room.

"He was like in a daze," Sherika Sherad testified, describing her friend's condition after the attack. "He was slurring (his words) sometimes, I didn't know what he was saying."

Sherad, whose testimony started Wednesday and continued Thursday, told an 11-member jury that she called 911 to report the Jan. 24, 2015, attack on Erik Hood.

Thomas Bailey, a Maricopa County prosecutor presenting the case, played the 911 call to the jury in which Sherad is heard saying men including the Morrises were in a fight with Hood.

Sherad made the call from her vehicle before she drove Hood to a hospital.

“I was scared, I was very frantic,” Sherad said Thursday. “It was just a lot.”

She said a man wearing a hoodie approached Hood and a man wearing a bandanna around his face attacked Hood. Once Hood got up, several men started chasing him, she said.

Sherad said she saw one of the Morris brothers attack Hood while the other held back a man who was approaching, presumably to break up the fight. She testified that she couldn't tell who was doing the beating and who was holding the man back because they are identical twins.

She also said Hood, 39, later texted to ask if she could help him find a lawyer.

She suggested that Hood hire high-profile lawyer Mark Geragos, who has represented celebrities such as singer Chris Brown.

On Thursday, in trying to prove Hood's intentions were to get a payout, Eckstein showed the jury various cellphone text messages that Hood had sent to Sherad. He also showed a message Sherad sent to a friend in Maryland about the attack.

Sometime after the fight, Hood told Sherad the Morrises were going to settle soon for $20 million or else the case would go to court, according to one of the text messages.

In a separate exchange, Sherad sent a text message to a friend telling her the Morrises had beaten her friend.

She and Hood planned on filing a lawsuit against the brothers, "so I might get rich here pretty soon," the message to the friend said. Further in the exchange, Sherad said that even though she wasn't physically hurt, she would sue for "emotional distress lol."

Sherad said she wrote "lol," which means laugh out loud, in the text because she wasn't being serious.

She said Thursday she never filed a lawsuit. Hood, however, does have a pending civil case against the brothers.

You may notice the mention of an 11-member jury as opposed to the eight-person jury previously-mentioned. Arizona law calls for a jury of eight-to-twelve individuals in Superior Court, depending on the severity of the case. The finding, guilty or not guilty, must be unanimous.

The prosecution continues to pose a case of a planned, premeditated attack that included the three current defendants, including the Morris twins. The defense is trying to show that Marcus and Markieff were not involved in any way with the attack, and that Erik Hood filed criminal charges for monetary gain.

This type of case usually comes down to the credibility of the witnesses in the eyes of the jurors and the makeup of the jury itself. Are any of them basketball fans who enjoyed watching the Morris brothers play for the Phoenix Suns? Were any jurors physically attacked at some point in their lives or the subject of a lawsuit in the past? That is the real world of criminal courts. It takes only one juror to separate from the others for a hung jury/mistrial to be declared. Stay tuned.

Photo credit: Mark Henle/The Republic