Man pleads not guilty in '09 fatal shooting
by Shaka S. Lias
Apr 27, 2011 | 3232 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Michael Thomas Morris Jr., 32, pleaded not guilty to murder during his arraignment Tuesday morning in Bartow County Superior Court.

Morris is the alleged gunman in a Aug. 22, 2009, shooting at Amberwood Apartments that killed 26-year-old Joshua Lee Moore and seriously injured Danny Dewayne Westbrooks.

The indictment alleges Morris shot Moore in the chest with a .25 handgun, causing his death, and shot Westbrooks twice -- in the stomach and chest -- during the incident at the apartment complex located at 1116 N. Tennessee St. According to the indictment, Westbrooks' injuries required surgery and removal of a spleen and one of his kidneys.

Kelly Dial told Judge David Smith her client's plea is based on self-defense.

In addition to murder, Morris also is charged with two counts of felony murder, two counts of possession of a firearm during a crime, two counts of aggravated battery, two counts of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and terroristic threats.

According to the indictment, the terroristic threats stem from Morris allegedly pointing a gun at a woman and saying, "I will kill you and myself before I let you leave me."

Morris has two prior convictions, including aggravated assault in 2005 and interference with government property in 2007. Both crimes happened in Gordon County. Morris is scheduled for the June 13 trial calendar. District Attorney Joe Campbell appeared on behalf of the state.

In other court news:

* Adrian Wehunt Sr. was granted a $75,000 bond while he awaits charges of child molestation. As part of bond conditions, he must not reside in a residence with any female under the age of 18. He also must not have any contact with the 15-year-old alleged victim.

* Joseph F. Walker pleaded guilty to theft by taking. According to court testimony, he took two beers without permission. He was sentenced to 60 days to serve in jail, concurrent with a probation revocation.

* Anthony J. Williams pleaded guilty to theft by taking in connection with stealing a tip jar from Ming Moon restaurant. The jar contained $35, which Williams must pay back in restitution. In addition he was sentenced to 12 months probation, ordered to serve 80 hours of community service and pay a $300 fine. He must not enter the restaurant during probation.