Jury deliberates fate of former stripper accused of murder

Posted Online: Nov. 08, 2006, 11:00 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The fate of a former stripper charged with murder is up to a Polk County jury.

Andrea Morris, 30, has been on trial since last week for allegedly killing a client seven years ago in his Des Moines home. She and her attorneys have claimed that her former boyfriend and self-proclaimed pimp, Mars Davis, killed the client when he started kissing her.

Deliberations began Wednesday afternoon and will continue Thursday. If convicted, Morris faces life in prison without parole.

Morris of Lincoln, Neb., is charged with killing 43-year-old Patrick McRae, a former video production coordinator for Iowa Public Television, on Oct. 16, 1999. She was arrested in 2005 after Davis told authorities he saw her leaving the crime scene covered in blood.

Morris has testified that McRae paid her $100 to dance nude in his dark home the night of his death. She said he pinned her to the couch before she even began her private dance and refused to stop kissing her.

Then, "I saw Mars behind him, and Mars grabbed him around the shoulders and pulled him up," Morris said in court Tuesday. "Then I saw a knife in Mars' hand, and the knife stabbed Mr. McRae."

Polk County authorities contend that Morris sliced McRae's carotid artery, chased McRae to his front door, then inflicted five more knife wounds to McRae's neck and the top of his shoulders.

Prosecutors have criticized Morris' credibility and her attempts to pin the crime on Davis.

"You're forced to figure out, 'Which of these two derelicts can I believe?"' prosecutor Nan Horvat told jurors.

Prosecutors have noted the evidence brought against Morris, including bloody footprints tracked throughout McRae's home and a woman's DNA at the scene that was matched to Morris. Police have also said they discovered McRae's blood in Morris' Ford Bronco, which was located in New Orleans more than five years after his death.

"She's the killer," Horvat said, "and every part of her is in this crime scene."

Prosecutors contend that Morris version, which involves being chased by McRae, then retreating from the front door to hide briefly in a closet, is not supported by physical evidence. In contrast, police found Morris DNA in drops of blood on a bedspread and on a toothpaste dispenser.

Robert Powers, Morris' attorney, dismissed claims that all the bloody footprints found on McRaes deck, living room and bathroom were all made by Morris.

Morris, who then weighed 105 pounds, couldn't possibly have dispatched the 212-pound McRae, Powers argued.

"Listen," Powers, cocking an ear, told jurors. "It's reasonable doubt. It's marching in here with trumpets blaring and banners flying. You can hear it."


Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com


Local events heading

  Today is Sunday, Sept. 21, the 264th day of 2014. There are 101 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: We hear that Col. Reynolds has employed C.D. Merrill to drill for water to supply the Rock Island Barracks.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Billy Catton, famous billard player, returned to Rock Island with a view to making this city his home in the future.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The belief is growing that a great decisive battle of the World War was being fought at Verdun, a strong fortress of France on the Meuse near the French frontier, according to a London dispatch.
1939 -- 75 years ago: William Stremmel, 91, Rock Island's last Civil War veteran, died.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Workmen of the Midwest Wrecking Co., Clinton, have begun razing the historic old office building of Deere & Co., 1325 3rd Ave., Moline. The site will be used by the Deere Plow Works for its shipping and receiving department.
1989 -- 25 years ago: East Moline developer Jim Massa says the financial package for the proposed $34.5 million Quad City International Motor Speedway is down to making sure "all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed. Finalizing this will give the green light to see if NASCAR and CART, the auto racing sanctioning bodies, approve race dates.

(More History)