The Morris brothers do everything together. They have the same bank account, the same clothing, the same tattoos, the same facial hair, the same everything. They even played for the same NBA team, the Phoenix Suns. After twenty six years on the earth, many still get them mixed up when they are not side by side. And now, they are charged with twin counts of felony aggravated assault.
But in this case, they are arguing that witness testimony is sketchier when it comes to Markieff's involvement in the alleged beating of a former mentor last January, and that Markieff Morris should be out of the picture entirely.
The Morrises' attorneys argue that evidence presented to the grand jury in April was misleading, withheld or incorrect. In particular, a stipulation was made that Markieff should not even be included because the victim's third police interview recanted whether he saw Markieff involved in the assault. The victim, a Philadelphia acquaintance of the Morrises, Erik Hood, and a friend initially alleged that the Morris twins and three other men assaulted Hood, causing a broken nose, cuts and bruises.
From the beginning, there was more certainty among witnesses that, of the two 6'9" 240 lb. behemoths, Marcus Morris participated in the alleged assault on January 24, 2015 of a former mentor rather than brother Markieff Morris.
Early "reports" on various internet forums when the assault rumors broke had Markieff standing guard, making sure no one interfered with the assault and that no witnesses got video of it. True enough, not a single video has surfaced of the incident. But most of those early reports fizzled, with allegations downgraded from firsthand ("I saw it myself!" to thirdhand ("well, I didn't see it, but my friend said he saw it"), so Bright Side refused to report anything.
The police investigated for a long time. They interviewed the victim several times, as well as his girlfriend who was there to corroborate his story. The story changed over time - not in a big way, but in small details enough to make the defense insist on reconvening the grand jury to start this all over again.
After a long process to gather evidence, the brothers were charged with two counts felony aggravated assault on April 21, 2015. Nothing happens quickly in criminal investigations. This isn't primetime TV. In fact, I've heard from a lawyer that there's no way even a trial would take place before next summer, if one happens at all.
The defense attorneys would like to make it all go away long before that though.
The latest phase of the process is the defense arguing to remand the Grand Jury back to re-hear the case, this time with additional evidence not previously presented to the grand jury that is now part of the legal proceedings. The Morris attorneys' argument is that the evidence provided by the prosecution in the original grand jury hearing was incomplete, and angled toward getting charges filed.
The judge has yet to rule on whether a new grand jury should be convened, but could make the ruling in the coming days.
If the judge denies the motion, and continues the proceedings with the current charges, the twins could be back in court on November 5. Marcus Morris will already be back in town anyway, with the Pistons coming to visit the Suns on Friday night, November 6.
Don't hold your breath on this whole process, Suns fans. Just expect, one way or another, to see Markieff Morris playing basketball all season long.