Warning: The following write-up has graphic facts involving murder and sexual assault.
As loved ones, close friends and associates of the poker group wait around for responses in the Susie Zhao murder circumstance, delays and pushbacks brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, variations to authorized counsel and a filing error suggest it will consider for a longer time to get individuals responses.
Zhao, a 33-yr-old skilled poker participant who produced deep runs in the World Series of Poker Major Celebration and who was a standard in the Los Angeles poker scene, was brutally murdered in July 2020 shortly right after relocating to Michigan. Zhao’s suspected killer, 61-year-previous Jeffery Bernard Morris of Pontiac, Michigan, is in custody and awaits trial on two counts of murder.
Morris has a pretrial hearing scheduled in February, even though the trial alone is scheduled to get underway this summer. Immediately after a sequence of delays spanning the study course of various many years, in this article is everything you have to have to know about exactly where points stand in the Susie Zhao murder demo.
Zhao’s badly burned and partly mutilated body was uncovered on July 13, 2020 in a state recreation spot in White Lake, Michigan. In the next weeks, White Lake law enforcement arrested and charged Morris, a convicted intercourse offender with a violent prison historical past dating again to the 1980s.
An autopsy disclosed that Zhao had been burned alive and sexually assaulted. Police and Oakland County prosecutors allege that Morris fulfilled Zhao at Sherwood Motel, the place he sure her with zip ties and “lit (her) on hearth until eventually she died.” Surveillance footage confirmed that Morris later on drove to the state park exactly where Zhao’s remains were located, although cell cellphone facts linked the two to the Michigan motel.
In September 2020, Morris was charged with 1st-degree premeditated murder in Clarkston’s 52nd District Courtroom. As particulars emerged in the graphic case, prosecutors added a 2nd murder charge and a judge bound the scenario about to the larger Oakland County Circuit Courtroom.
Morris’ trial was initially slated to choose spot in March 2021, though that date was afterwards pushed back again to September due to coronavirus-linked limits at the courthouse, in accordance to The Oakland Push.
In September, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Martha Anderson agreed to delay the case till January 2022 thanks to a adjust in the defense counsel, court docket files point out. In December, the Oakland County Indigent Defense Solutions Business appointed Michael McCarthy as Morris’ new counsel, replacing Pamela Johnson.
This wouldn’t be the very last hold off in the prolonged murder demo. On January 11, the scenario had to return to District Court owing to an “error at (the) time of bindover,” which was brought on by a clerk failing to include the second murder demand to the scenario prior to it was transferred to the Circuit Court docket back in late 2020.
Then, on January 12, Main Circuit Judge Jeffery Matis issued an buy stating that all jury trials scheduled by means of February 25 would be “adjourned with out particular person orders” because of to a surge in coronavirus circumstances and would be rescheduled on or soon after February 28 “when court resumes entire operations, barring unforeseen situation.”
“This Courtroom challenges this Administrative Order as one more in a sequence of Administrative Orders to address court operations in the course of the time of the unfold of the Coronavirus Illness that emerged in 2019, acknowledged as COVID-19,” the get states, even further noting that “COVID-19 proceeds to materially have an effect on the performing of the Court.”
As things at the moment stand, it appears to be like the murder demo will eventually be receiving underway later this calendar year. The hottest pretrial date is established for February 17, although the most current demo day is scheduled for June 16, in accordance to court docket files.
Zhao was located dead in July 2020
Remembering “Susie Q”
According to The Detroit News, Zhao immigrated from China as a little one and grew up in Michigan. She later on examined psychology and business enterprise at Northwestern College around Chicago and ultimately moved to Los Angeles, where by she was a typical in the reside poker scene and performed and commentated on the “Live at the Bike” stream at the Bicycle On line casino.
Zhao also did properly in tournaments, accumulating $222,671 in are living event earnings relationship again to 2009, according to The Hendon Mob. Her most effective dwell dollars arrived in 2012 when she finished 90th in the WSOP Primary Celebration for $73,805. Just a couple of yrs later, she concluded in 172nd position for $40,433 in the 2015 Major Occasion.
Zhao, who was identified in the poker community as “Susie Q,” experienced a vivid individuality and appeared to make an impact on almost all people she played with.
“She was 1 of the bubbliest and most vivacious opponents I’ve ever had,” reported Clayton Fletcher, who performed with Zhao in the 2015 Most important Occasion. “She was a extremely robust player who also appreciated to have entertaining at the table.”
“(Zhao) was pleasant on and off the desk,” reported Ronnie Bardah. “Had the satisfaction to hold out and break bread with her on several situations. Very intelligent and a sweetheart.”
Susie Zhao was a so fkn amazing. Was nice on and off the desk. Had the enjoyment to cling out and split bread with her… https://t.co/BQSkq5awGO
Allen Kessler known as Zhao one of his “long time poker friends” and mentioned he experienced chatted with her days prior to her dying.
Brandon Shack-Harris, meanwhile, observed that he experienced “tons of fantastic encounters actively playing and chatting with her in the Chicago times.”
“Really amazing human being, and so happy I got to know her,” Shack-Harris claimed.
PokerNews will go on to keep track of this situation as developments happen in the course of 2022.