Jury finds Brooklyn Park man guilty of murdering seven-month old

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

 

Update: On February 6, 2018, Chris Marquis McMorris, 25, was sentenced to 30 years in prison, which is twice that of  the sentencing guidelines, due to aggravating factors in the case.

 

A Hennepin County District Court jury found a Brooklyn Park man guilty of killing a seven-month-old baby girl, Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

The jury deliberated for a short time Friday afternoon before breaking for the holiday weekend and then returned on Tuesday morning and delivered the guilty verdict before noon yesterday.

Chris Marquis McMorris, 25, was found guilty of murdering Trinity Shelby, who was just seven months old. McMorris was found guilty of second-degree murder while committing third-degree assault; second-degree murder while committing felony assault in the third-degree, victim under the age of four; and second-degree murder while committing neglect of a child.

The jury also found the presence of aggravating factors, known as Blakely factors, for the judge to consider when sentencing McMorris. Included among these factors was: that the prosecution proved the victim was seven-months old; that McMorris knew her age; that McMorris was the primary caregiver at the time of the baby’s injury; that McMorris didn’t call 911; and that the baby could not defend herself from an assault.

According to the criminal complaint, Brooklyn Park police officers were dispatched to a home on Sumter Circle North at 9:14 a.m. on March 24, 2016 in response to a report of an unresponsive child who was not breathing.

Paramedics and fire department were on the scene, administering life-saving measures on the seven-month-old baby girl who, it was noted, had significant bruising on her face. She was transported to North Memorial Hospital and was pronounced dead at 10:44 a.m. The baby’s autopsy revealed she had 11 fractured ribs, multiple bruises to her face, scalp, abdomen, back and buttocks. She had suffered a laceration to her liver that bled into her abdomen. The cause of death was blunt force injuries to her abdomen.

The criminal complaint states that McMorris was in a relationship with the baby’s mother and lived with them and the baby’s grandmother. Just over a month before the baby’s death, paternity testing had indicated that McMorris was not the biological father of the baby. McMorris dropped Trinity off at daycare on March 22 and 23. On March 22, daycare staff noted two burst blood vessels as well as scratches and fresh bruises on the baby’s cheek. On March 23, they noted bruising and scratches on her back. They drafted incident reports and called the baby’s mother.

McMorris will be sentenced February 6 and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office is expected to request an upward departure due to aggravating factors, which could be up to 40 years in prison.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)