Jury begins deliberation in Morris murder trial

LIMA — A jury began deliberation Thursday in the trial of a Toledo man accused of shooting and killing one man and assaulting another.

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.

Jurors deliberated for more than six hours before breaking for the night.

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.

Morris testified on Thursday that he had fought with Michael Latson and later saw a gun on the ground in front of the home. He said when he saw a truck pass the home then turn around and come back, he picked up the gun and started firing after it pulled partially into the driveway.

Morris said that the driver, Davion Latson, had “flashed” a gun in his right hand, but Jennifer Lewis, the younger Latson’s mother, said her son was left-handed and didn’t carry guns.

Morris said he fired the gun to protect his three children and did not intend to kill anyone.

“I wasn’t trying to kill him. I wasn’t trying to hurt him; I was just trying to get him away from where my kids was at,” Morris testified.

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.

Officers testified earlier in the week that Morris exited a shed on the neighbor’s property about five hours after the shooting — at which point he was a suspect.

Morris told the jury that he hid in the shed because he was afraid of incurring a having weapons under disability charge, as he has a prior criminal record.

If the jury finds Morris acted in self defense in any of the charges, he will be acquitted in that charge.