Former Phoenix Suns twinsies Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris are finally set to face trial for their alleged assault on a family friend for getting too friendly with their mom. The twins allegedly assaulted Erik Hood outside a high school basketball gym on a Saturday night in January 2015, an off night between two Suns home games.
The brothers are due in Superior Court on Monday, September 18, as each side makes their opening statements. The trial is officially underway more than 30 months after the assault occurred.
Usual legal back-and-forth delayed the trial, including dueling motions to release and suppress the collection of cell phone records of the victim and the accused. Finally, the trial is set to actually take place, one week before both the Morris twins are expected to join their teams - the Celtics (Marcus) and Wizards (Markieff) - for training camp ahead of the 2017-18 season.
What was once a group of five defendants - all charged with the same pair of felony aggravated assault counts for the same altercation - has now dwindled to three.
Kane and Melendez pled guilty as charged last Wednesday and are awaiting sentencing next month.
According to this site, "Class 4 felonies have a presumptive of two years and six months in prison and an aggravated term of three years and nine months. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-701.)". The Class 6 could add another year to those sentences.
And while you might think a good lawyer could get the NBA players off with probation of some sort, that would be highly difficult.
According to this site, any aggravated assault conviction carries prison time:
If convicted of Aggravated Assault as a dangerous offense, even as a first offense, you will go to prison.
While your criminal history and the circumstances of your crime will impact the length of your sentence, even those facing a first offense may face from 5 to 15 years in prison. For a second conviction the sentence can increase to as much as 10 to 20 years in prison and a third conviction can be as much as 15 to 25 years.
While there is a substantial risk of jail time, there is still flexibility in the significant range of recommended years a person can be sentenced. An experienced, aggressive attorney will fight to ensure you receive the shortest prison sentence allowed by law.
Bowman and the Morrii are continuing with the trial. Kane and Melendez now face those sentences, while the athletes will stand trial with the hope to get all charges dropped on a finding of not guilty.
The latest wrinkle in the timeline occurred on Friday, September 15, when the County and two defendants - one of whom pled guilty on 9/13 and the other being Marcus Morris - filed an amended request for a Rule 609 hearing. Rule 609 allows for impeachment of a witness for evidence of conviction of a crime. The judge must decide whether the criminal conviction of the witness, normally ignored for the purposes of a trial, is serious enough to be included despite its precocial nature.
The trial is scheduled to last through Thursday, September 21, at which time we will know whether the twins are guilty or not guilty.
Sentencing for any guilty verdicts will take place on October 16, 2017.