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 Wednesday, Oct. 1, the 274th day of 2014. There are 91 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: It is rumored in the streets that the 13 negroes sent to Quincy on the Moline quota were refused. We think this must be a mistake.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Harvey McKenna, of Detroit, billiard player matched to play Wizard Schafer in New York in January for the world championship, was a professional friend and manager, Billy Catton in Rock Island.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Levi Cralle, former Rock Island county sheriff, had come from his farm near Mitchell, S.D. to visit friends in the city.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Work is being rushed on the new high school building in Orion to replace the one destroyed by fire last winter. Classes are being held in churches.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Rehearsals for the 84th season of the Handel Oratorio Society chorus will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday on the stage of Centennial Hall, Augustana College.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Rock Island City Council's plan announced this week to have the federal government vacate Valley Homes public housing and move residents to Arsenal Courts to reduce density may not be feasible.

(More History)