Morris guilty in child's murder;trial continues on mental state
A Hennepin County District Court judge found Cory Morris guilty of second-degree murder of his baby daughter. The second part of the trial, to determine whether he was mentally ill when he killed her, is underway, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
The second part of the trial before Hennepin County District Court Judge Kerry Meyer began Thursday morning and may wrap up as soon as Friday. The attorney for the 22-year-old Morris will attempt to prove that he was not legally responsible for the murder of the nearly five-month-old baby because of mental illness.
Wednesday morning, the first phase of the trial concluded with more than two hours of testimony from Jennifer Andersen, the mother of young Emersyn and it was a preview of the mental health phase of the trial. Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Christina Warren elicited from Andersen that her boyfriend, Morris, was a good father who had been watching the baby for months.
Andersen said Morris’ social anxiety had been getting worse after Emersyn was born in March and he saw a therapist two days before he killed the little girl. But he just seemed more sad and never said or did anything that indicated he might hurt Emersyn, she said.
Morris’ attorney will be calling family members and a psychiatrist to testify for the second phase of the trial. During the first phase, he concentrated on asking questions of witnesses to reveal Morris’ state of mind.
Most of the testimony earlier in the week focused on the baby’s death. On Aug. 13, Morris had called 911 just before 5 p.m. and said he had killed his daughter at the couple’s home at 1907 Franklin Ave. S.E. According to the criminal complaint, he was watching television when Emersyn began making baby talk noises.
He took her out of her baby swing. He carried her into a bedroom and placed her on the changing table and she continued making noises. So he punched her in the face 15 times and seven times in the chest, the complaint states.
Following closing arguments Wednesday afternoon, Judge Meyer found Morris guilty of second-degree intentional murder.