Pandemic, Clerk Mistake Most recent Cause Delay in Susie Zhao Murder Demo

Warning: The next report incorporates graphic particulars involving murder and sexual assault.

As spouse and children, buddies and members of the poker group wait for solutions in the Susie Zhao murder scenario, delays and pushbacks introduced on by the COVID-19 pandemic, improvements to lawful counsel and a submitting error indicate it will choose lengthier to get those solutions.

Zhao, a 33-year-old specialist poker player who produced deep operates in the Planet Series of Poker Key Celebration and who was a regular in the Los Angeles poker scene, was brutally murdered in July 2020 soon immediately after relocating to Michigan. Zhao’s suspected killer, 61-calendar year-aged Jeffery Bernard Morris of Pontiac, Michigan, is in custody and awaits demo on two counts of murder.

Morris has a pretrial listening to scheduled in February, when the demo itself is scheduled to get underway this summer season. Right after a series of delays spanning the course of various decades, right here is almost everything you need to know about in which things stand in the Susie Zhao murder demo.

Situation History

Zhao’s badly burned and partially mutilated entire body was discovered on July 13, 2020 in a condition recreation region in White Lake, Michigan. In the following months, White Lake police arrested and billed Morris, a convicted sex offender with a violent felony record dating back again to the 1980s.

An autopsy revealed that Zhao experienced been burned alive and sexually assaulted. Law enforcement and Oakland County prosecutors allege that Morris achieved Zhao at Sherwood Motel, exactly where he sure her with zip ties and “lit (her) on fireplace till she died.” Surveillance footage confirmed that Morris later drove to the condition park wherever Zhao’s remains were being discovered, while cell phone info joined the two to the Michigan motel.

In September 2020, Morris was charged with 1st-degree premeditated murder in Clarkston’s 52nd District Courtroom. As specifics emerged in the graphic scenario, prosecutors included a 2nd murder charge and a decide sure the circumstance in excess of to the larger Oakland County Circuit Courtroom. at?v=yBWYjLMri1Y

Justice Delayed

Morris’ demo was originally slated to just take put in March 2021, even though that day was later pushed again to September because of to coronavirus-relevant restrictions at the courthouse, in accordance to The Oakland Press.

In September, Oakland County Circuit Court Choose Martha Anderson agreed to hold off the scenario till January 2022 because of to a adjust in the defense counsel, courtroom files point out. In December, the Oakland County Indigent Protection Companies Business office appointed Michael McCarthy as Morris’ new counsel, replacing Pamela Johnson.

This would not be the final hold off in the extended murder trial. On January 11, the situation had to return to District Court because of to an “error at (the) time of bindover,” which was caused by a clerk failing to increase the second murder charge to the circumstance ahead of it was transferred to the Circuit Court docket back again in late 2020.

Then, on January 12, Main Circuit Choose Jeffery Matis issued an purchase stating that all jury trials scheduled by February 25 would be “adjourned without having individual orders” owing to a surge in coronavirus scenarios and would be rescheduled on or immediately after February 28 “when courtroom resumes whole functions, barring unexpected situations.”

“This Court docket challenges this Administrative Purchase as yet another in a collection of Administrative Orders to tackle courtroom functions throughout the time of the spread of the Coronavirus Disorder that emerged in 2019, regarded as COVID-19,” the buy states, more noting that “COVID-19 continues to materially have an effect on the performing of the Court docket.”

As issues at the moment stand, it appears like the murder demo will ultimately be getting underway afterwards this year. The most current pretrial date is set for February 17, when the most recent demo day is scheduled for June 16, according to court docket files.

Zhao was identified useless in July 2020

Remembering “Susie Q”

In accordance to The Detroit News, Zhao immigrated from China as a child and grew up in Michigan. She later on examined psychology and business enterprise at Northwestern University close to Chicago and ultimately moved to Los Angeles, wherever she was a normal in the are living poker scene and performed and commentated on the “Live at the Bike” stream at the Bicycle Casino.

Zhao also did well in tournaments, accumulating $222,671 in live event earnings relationship back to 2009, according to The Hendon Mob. Her finest stay money came in 2012 when she finished 90th in the WSOP Key Event for $73,805. Just a number of decades later, she completed in 172nd location for $40,433 in the 2015 Major Celebration.

Susie Zhao
Susie Zhao created a long lasting impact on the poker community

Zhao, who was identified in the poker neighborhood as “Susie Q,” experienced a vibrant personality and appeared to make an impression on nearly every person she performed with.

“She was just one of the bubbliest and most vivacious opponents I have at any time had,” claimed Clayton Fletcher, who performed with Zhao in the 2015 Major Occasion. “She was a quite solid participant who also liked to have entertaining at the table.”

“(Zhao) was good on and off the desk,” explained Ronnie Bardah. “Had the enjoyment to cling out and split bread with her on numerous situations. Really intelligent and a sweetheart.”

Allen Kessler called Zhao 1 of his “long time poker friends” and claimed he experienced chatted with her times in advance of her death.

Brandon Shack-Harris, in the meantime, observed that he had “tons of good activities enjoying and talking with her in the Chicago times.”

“Really awesome man or woman, and so glad I got to know her,” Shack-Harris reported.

PokerNews will carry on to watch this case as developments occur during 2022.