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
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