Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man accused of trying to kill victim before Tampa rape trial

Demetreius M. Morris, 27, now faces an additional charge of solicitation to commit murder.

Demetreius M. Morris, 27, now faces an additional charge of solicitation to commit murder.

TAMPA — A man accused of raping a 70-year-old woman in a church sanctuary now faces a charge that he tried to hire a hit man to kill her and her daughter before the trial, authorities said.

Demetreius M. Morris, 27, was already in the Orient Road Jail when he sent notes earlier this month to someone saying he wanted to put out a hit on the women before he faced a May 8 court date, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. The person he is accused of sending the notes to was not identified by the Sheriff's Office.

Morris was arrested by Tampa police in October after a DNA sample linked him to a rape earlier that month.

A 70-year-old woman had been attacked as she gave a man a tour of the sanctuary of Living Word Fellowship, 8215 N 13th St.

A DNA sample from Morris was already held in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement database because he had been arrested before, in 2002, and charged with a lewd and lascivious act on a child, records show.

That sample linked him to the church rape, and he was arrested on counts of sexual battery, kidnapping, lewd and lascivious battery on an elderly person and lewd and lascivious molestation of an elderly person.

While he was being held on those charges without bail, the Sheriff's Office said, Morris "corresponded via hand-written notes to the listed witness expressing his desire to have a 'hit' placed on the victim and the victim's daughter."

The notes were written between April 12 and Sunday, and said Morris wanted the women killed before May 8, the Sheriff's Office said. "The defendant advised he would pay for the 'hit' with Social Security money he is scheduled to be paid," the agency said.

Records show Morris has pleaded not guilty to the rape charges and was scheduled to go to trial May 8 before Hillsborough Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe.

He now faces an additional charge of solicitation to commit murder, a first-degree felony.

He remained in jail Thursday without bail.

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

Man accused of trying to kill victim before Tampa rape trial 04/25/13 [Last modified: Thursday, April 25, 2013 11:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning shifts search for defense to free agency

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — As much as he tried, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman left the weekend's draft without acquiring another top-four defenseman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  2. Half of Florida lawmakers fail or nearly fail review of support for public records

    State Roundup

    WEST PALM BEACH — Half of Florida's legislators failed or nearly failed in a review of their support for public records and meetings given by Florida newspapers and an open-government group after this year's legislative sessions.

    State Senator Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton (left) and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran ranked on opposite sides of the spectrum in an analysis of support for open records. Galvano scored a B-minus and Corcoran scored a D-plus.
[Times file photo]
  3. Yale dean on leave over offensive Yelp reviews leaves post

    Bizarre News

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Yale University dean who was placed on leave over offensive reviews she posted on Yelp has left her position at the Ivy League institution, school officials said Tuesday.

  4. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]