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Morris trial rescheduled for January

BY JARED KEEVER - jkeever@perutribune.com


The trial of a young Jonesboro woman charged in connection with the May 2018 death of a Summitville man won’t happen until next year. 

Court records from a Thursday hearing at the Miami County courthouse indicate that Miami County Circuit Court Judge Tim Spahr moved the trial for Brittany Michelle Renae Morris from November to late January. 

Morris, 18, is facing charges of felony murder, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, and theft connected to the beating death of 22-year-old Drake Smith. She was 17 at the time of his death.

Smith's body was found May 19, 2018, by mushroom hunters on the Okie Pinokie trail. His death was ruled a ruled homicide caused by blunt force trauma with signs of asphyxia.

Court documents in the case indicate that authorities believe Smith was killed as part of a plan of Morris' to steal drugs from him.

Recent court records show that Morris appeared before Spahr on Thursday via video conferencing for a hearing that was scheduled in late August after her attorneys filed a motion to suppress statements.

Prosecutors, the records show, requested another hearing on the matter, with time to file their response, and Morris’ attorney requested a continuance of the trial date. 

Prosecutors will file their response to the defense motion by Sept. 11. 

Spahr set the trial to begin Jan. 21 with a hearing scheduled for Sept. 12. 

Two other men are charged in connection with Smith’s death, Marion native Joshua C. Kean and Ethan D. Cain of Lafontaine.

They were both found in California days after Smith's body was discovered.

Kean, 21, is facing charges of murder, felony murder, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, assisting a criminal, obstruction and theft. His case is set for trial in February with a hearing scheduled for Sept. 12. 

Cain, 23, is charged with murder, felony murder, theft, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and obstruction. His case is scheduled to go to trial in April with hearings scheduled in November and March.