Jeffery Bernard Morris Arraigned, Denied Bail in Susie Zhao Slaying1 year ago
Jeffery Bernard Morris, the suspect in the slaying of poker professional Susie Zhao, was arraigned on Monday in a Michigan district court and charged with first-degree murder in her death. Morris, 60, a registered sex offender with multiple violent crimes in his past, was ordered held without bond pending the next hearing in the case.
Morris was arrested in Pontiac, Michigan on Friday, August 1 after being linked to Zhao’s death by investigators. A few facts in the case emerged during Monday’s arraignment hearing, which was covered by several Detroit-area news outlets.
Prosecutors have disclosed their belief that the 33-year-old Zhao, known in the poker world as Susie Q, was likely killed in the early morning hours of Monday, July 13. Zhao was last seen by her relatives at about 5:30 PM on Sunday, July 12, and authorities determined that Zhao and Morris met some hours later at a Pontiac-area motel. Prosecutors have not released their scenario regarding why the two met, though they have ruled out the possibility that Zhao’s killing was in any way directly connected to her poker career.
Some horrifying details have already emerged. Two men discovered Zhao’s bound and charred body at a parking area on the edge of the Pontiac Lake State Recreation Area, some miles west of Pontiac itself, shortly after 8:00 AM on July 23. However, an Oakland County sheriff’s patrol recorded doing a routine check of the parking lot shortly before midnight on July 12, since Michigan’s day-use state-park facilities typically close at sunset. Nearly three weeks elapsed before Morris’s arrest, when police located his car near Interstate 275 in Pontiac.
Online court records verified by PokerTube show that Morris is scheduled for a show-cause hearing on August 18. As with Monday’s arraignment, that hearing will be held in a Michigan 52nd District, Division Two courtroom. Further details are likely to be made public at that time.
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