Justice for Suzie Zhao Finally Possible with Trial
We covered it here extensively, the tragedy perpetrated upon poker pro Susie Zhao in 2020.
The young poker player who had been based in Los Angeles for most of her poker career had recently moved home to spend some of the pandemic with her family. And not long after her 33rd birthday, someone brutally tortured and murdered her on the night of July 12 and early in the morning hours of July 13, 2020. The White Lake Township Police Department arrested a suspect within a couple of weeks, and that person has been in jail awaiting trial since the beginning of August 2020.
After pandemic-related delays and legal representation changes, the trial is set to begin on Monday, October 3. Jeffery Bernard Morris will face two murder charges for the premeditated murder and murder in the commission of a sexual crime of Susie “Susie Q” Zhao.
From the time that Susie Zhao – known to many in the poker community as Susie Q – took her last breath, there was a desire for justice. Nothing would make up for the brutality or bring her back, but the person who committed the horrific crimes against her and upon her needed to pay.
At the very least, Zhao’s friends and family wanted the trial to happen. While there was fairly consistent movement in the first year after her murder, the pandemic caused some delays in getting it to a trial. And a change in attorneys on both sides of the case required more time for trial preparation.
We covered the case from the start:
–The poker community mourned the loss of a beloved player, while details remained scarce.
–Authorities release the identity of the suspect and more details about Zhao’s murder, which was committed in the early morning hours of July 13, 2020.
–Judge binds Morris case over for trial after probable cause hearing in September.
–October hearing sets trial to begin March 22, 2021.
–Prosecutors proved the viability of a second murder charge against Morris in a March 8 hearing, which delays the trial start.
On @CourtTV: @attyjamiewhite, star #Michigan trial attorney and founder of White Law PPLC, analyzes the murder case of late professional gambler, Susie Zhao.#gambling #legaladvice #murderhttps://t.co/W2nKkaaxG5
— NewsroomPR (@NewsroomPR) December 21, 2020
The last update was in January 2022, noting that the case of Jeffery Bernard Morris was set for a September trial.
Per @WriterJen, case against Jeffery Bernard Morris on charges of first-degree murder of Susie Zhao postponed AGAIN. New-ish defense attorney not ready. Judge not happy but all agreed to postpone. Trial date now Sept 26. #JusticeForSusieQ #JusticeDelayed
— Legal US Poker (@legal_poker) February 17, 2022
Finally, with all of the preparations in place, they set a trial date for October 3. This week, Judge Martha Anderson and attorneys for the People for the State of Michigan and Morris sorted out the trial details, evidence admittance, and jury selection.
Tough Trial Ahead
Morris is charged with two counts of homicide.
-Murder First Degree, Premeditated (On July 13, 2020, Morris intended to kill and murder Susie Zhao)
-Felony Murder (On July 13, 2020, Morris committed murder while committing criminal sexual conduct.)
While Morris pleaded not guilty, Prosecutor Karen McDonald seeks life without parole – two sentences, one for each count.
Judge Anderson will preside over the trial, which begins at 8:30am ET on Monday, October 3. The public is welcome to attend the trial in person or watch online. Viewers should visit the Michigan courtroom directory, type in Martha Anderson, and click on the “watch” button at the bottom of the page on each day of the trial.
It is entirely unclear as to how long the trial may last. The prosecuting attorney appears to have quite a lot of evidence – both circumstantial and physical – but the defense will try to disprove or disqualify much of it. The details to date, however, have shown that Morris faces a mountain of evidence against him.
We will write about the verdict when it comes down in the coming days or weeks.
The poker community anxiously awaits justice for one of their own, poker pro Susie Zhao, beloved wife, daughter, and friend.
Finally, the wheels of justice will turn for Susie Zhao when the trial of Jeffery Bernard Morris begins on Oct 3. Two counts of murder on the table for the horrifying death of poker pro Susie Q in July 2020. https://t.co/hIzZvKmJoL
— Jennifer Newell (@WriterJen) September 29, 2022