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Judge to allow jurors to see 'happy' photos of victim before assault

TAMPA — Defense attorneys for the teen accused of raping and brutally beating an 18-year-old high school student outside Bloomingdale Regional Library don't want jurors to see photos of her frolicking on the beach before the April 2008 attack.

Kendrick Morris, 19, is scheduled to be tried next week on sexual battery charges.

Prosecutors plan to show photos of the victim from before and after the attack to prove she suffered great bodily harm.

She "was a healthy, fit young woman before this event," Assistant State Attorney Michael Sinacore said at a hearing Tuesday.

Now, he said, she needs assistance to stand and move.

Rocky Brancato, one of Morris' assistant public defenders, argued that the "before" images showing the victim in "such an extremely happy state" would prejudice jurors, who will also hear testimony about the victim's condition and see crime scene photos.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe decided jurors can see the photos. The state has a right to present evidence needed to meet the elements of its case against Morris, he said.

Earlier this month, a jury found Morris guilty of raping a 62-year-old day care worker in June 2007. He has not been sentenced but could get life in prison.

Judge to allow jurors to see 'happy' photos of victim before assault 09/21/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 10:57pm]
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