Testimony details shooting in Morris murder trial

LIMA — The state rested its case in the jury trial of a Toledo man accused of shooting and killing a man after assaulting his father.

Demarco Morris, 34, is charged with two counts of murder, two counts of second-degree felonious assault and first-degree felony discharging a firearm on prohibited premises. All charges carry firearm specifications. Morris is accused of shooting at a truck and killing Davion Latson, 25, on Sept. 5, 2021.

Michael Latson, Davion Latson’s father, testified on Monday that he was assaulted at a home on South Perry Street by Morris and a man named Larry Luke, and his son picked him up later at a house on Market Street. He said Morris shot at the truck when his son stopped outside the home to ask who had hurt his father, and Davion Latson sped off and crashed, dying from a bullet wound.

Three different individuals who were also at the home testified that they saw Davion Latson yell, asking who had assaulted his dad before three to four gunshots were fired. Stories differed on whether the younger Latson exited the car or leaned out the window.

Melody Griffith, an owner of the home, said on Tuesday that after the shooting, two young men came to the home in a red vehicle and Morris gave one of them the gun. She said one of the men placed a gun under a mattress in her house.

Zander Holland, whose cousin lived down the street from the South Perry Street home, testified Tuesday that Michael Latson had been “threatening people for no reason” before he left.

Lamonda Pryor testified Tuesday that Davion Latson had exited his car when he yelled asking who had hurt his dad, but in video footage of a police interview, Pryor repeatedly told the detective that “he never got out.”

Dr. Jeffrey Hudson, the deputy coroner at the Lucas County Coroner’s Office, testified Wednesday that through the autopsy he performed, he determined that Davion Latson died from a bullet that penetrated his back in the left side. He said injuries around the wound indicated that the bullet had passed through an object, like the side of a car, before striking him.

Bullet trajectory analysis confirmed that the bullet went through the side of the truck’s bed and traveled at an angle to strike Davion Latson, Lima Police Department Detective Steve Stechschulte testified.

Hudson said the bullet traveled through multiple organs before landing in his right chest cavity.

Lima Police Identification Officer Mike Carman said in his investigation, two guns were found in the home. One was under a mattress, and another was found tucked into a recliner chair.

Carman said the gun tucked under the mattress was determined to be the gun that killed the younger Latson. The one that was in the chair was fully loaded and one of the individuals who came to the home after the shooting said that was his gun that he had built himself, Stechschulte said.

Carman said no guns were found in Davion Latson’s truck or in the surrounding area.

Two recordings of interviews between Stechschulte and Morris were shown to the jury. In the first, which took place in the early morning of Sept. 6, 2021, Morris denied shooting anyone then refused to talk until he saw his family.

After Stechschulte let him hug his wife and children, Morris told the detective that he had punched Michael Latson after he was threatening everyone there. He said the man dropped a gun after he was punched, then left.

Morris told the detective that when Michael Latson returned in a truck with his son driving, he saw Davion Latson flash a gun as he yelled asking who had attacked his dad. He said he immediately fired on the truck, not expecting to hit anyone, in an effort to protect his kids who were there. He said he dropped the gun right after the shooting.

“I seen the gun,” Morris told Stechschulte in the video. “I just wanted to get them away from my [expletive] kids.”

Shortly after this, Stechschulte questioned why Morris did not remove his kids from the area after Latson left if he was concerned for their safety. Morris said he did not know.

In the second interview, which took place on Sept. 8, Morris maintained that he fired the gun to protect his children, but said he instead found it on the ground and did not know to whom it belonged.

Stechschulte testified that he believes that it is unlikely that the gun was Michael Latson’s, as he did not use it when he was attacked and the man had been wearing basketball shorts. He said the gun would have pulled his shorts down and others at the home would have noticed.

The trial will continue Thursday at 9 a.m. Morris may testify in his own defense but is not required to.