Chris Marquis McMorris is facing dual counts of second-degree murder, which may mean as many as 30 years in prison if convicted, for allegedly beating an infant to death. Prosecutors allege that he carried out the horrific murder when he found out that he was not the baby's daddy. McMorris was the live-in companion of the dead child’s mother. The baby girl was seven months old.
Personnel at a daycare center noticed injuries on the baby girl back in March when she was dropped off for the day. They began noticing that she had two burst blood vessels in one eye. Over the course of several days, more injuries became apparent to the childcare providers. These included bruises and scratches on the infant’s cheek and back.
When daycare staff asked McMorris about the injuries, he said that the girl had been injured at home. Then, on March 24, McMorris did not drop the child off at the daycare facility.
Emergency responders were called to the Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, residence of McMorris and companion. There they found sitting in bed and speaking on a phone. The motionless body of the infant was lying on the floor, according to prosecutors. When asked by first responders to account for the baby’s condition, McMorris would only attest that she had vomited white bile.
Less than two hours later, the tiny tyke was pronounced dead. Among the injuries she suffered were 11 rib fractures, as well as bruises to the scalp, abdomen, back and buttocks. She also endured a lacerated liver, which had bled into her abdominal cavity, according to reports. A medical finding determined that the baby was battered multiple times in her abdomen, thus constituting a likely homicide.
According to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, McMorris murdered the tiny girl when he found out that he was not her biological father. This was confirmed by a paternity test just three days before the girl’s death.
Ira Whitlock, an attorney who is of counsel to McMorris, says his client is innocent. He said that the mother had not notice the girl’s wounds that the daycare workers had seen. According to a probable cause statement, she said that her daughter had cold but had been eating and moving normally on the night before her death. She could not account for the girl’s multiple injuries.
Attorney Whitlock said, “Just because a person ends up being the last person with the baby when the baby dies doesn’t mean that person caused the injuries to the baby.” He said of his client, “Mr. McMorris was with the baby, but it doesn’t mean he inflicted the injuries to the child.”
All the same, McMorris is in a lockup in Hennepin County, with bail set at $1.5 million.
Prosecuting attorney Freeman said that a decision will be made within the next month as to whether the death may be the result of premeditated murder. It would therefore go before a grand jury. In Minnesota, anyone charged with first-degree premeditated murder must have an indictment by a grand jury.
The 7-month-old baby girl’s death happened in the same county where Cory Morris is accused of murdering Emersyn, his four-month-old daughter. Morris is alleged to have punched the baby at least 15 times to make her quiet. He was angered about her baby talk. He stands charged with second-degree murder.
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