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Jury foreman calls Kendrick Morris 'guilty as hell'

TAMPA — Jurors didn't wrestle with a verdict or review evidence or go over the law. After a week of testimony and Wednesday's closing arguments, the six had no doubt.

"It was very clear that Kendrick Morris was as guilty as hell," jury foreman Robin Richter told the St. Petersburg Times.

The four women and two men talked and ate sandwiches for most of the 50 minutes they spent in the deliberation room, she said.

"We just took our time, ate our lunch and then rang the buzzer when we were done," Richter said.

All the evidence in the six-day trial pointed to Morris being guilty of raping and brutally assaulting a teenage girl as she dropped off books at the library, said jurors Jackie Yawn and Sidney Williamson.

Richter agreed: "The DNA — that sealed it completely."

Jurors heard testimony on Monday that the odds were one in 320 quadrillion that another African-American had the DNA found inside the victim, a match for Morris.

"It pretty much proved the case," Williamson said.

None of them believed the defense's argument that a time stamp on a Walmart surveillance video placed Morris at the store just minutes after the attack a mile away.

They believed prosecutors, who said the time stamp was wrong.

"It was just common sense," Yawn said.

Richter said she was horrified to learn on her way out of the courthouse that Morris was convicted last month of the 2007 rape of a 62-year-old day care worker. She was also disturbed by his lack of expression as the guilty charges were read.

"I'm just really quite sickened," she said. "I feel like I've just been punched in the stomach."

She said that even though she lives in east Hillsborough County, not far from the Bloomingdale library, where the girl was attacked, she never heard of the high-profile April 2008 rape.

Richter says she's an animal advocate who prefers to focus on furry creatures than human ones.

"The more that I learn about people, the more I'm disappointed in humans," she said.

Jury foreman calls Kendrick Morris 'guilty as hell' 10/06/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 7, 2010 9:32am]
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