Prosecutors in Oakland County, Michigan have announced that the murder trial of alleged Susie Zhao killer Jeffery Bernard Morris has again been delayed, this time to January 3, 2022. Morris has been jailed since August 2020 for the violent slaying of “Susie Q” Zhao, a former pro poker player who had returned to Michigan to live with family just weeks before her killing.
Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Martha Anderson agreed to the procedural delay after a request by Morris’s court-appointed attorney. The attorney asked for additional time to locate and review evidence. The procedural delay was the third such time Morris’s trial has been pushed back. Jury selection had been scheduled to begin this week, with the trial beginning within days.
Morris, 61, faces life in prison on two separate charges — premeditated murder and felony murder. An investigation determined that Morris and Zhao met at an Oakland County motel on July 12. Early the following morning, officers discovered Zhao’s burned and partially mutilated corpse in a deserted parking lot in a nearby wildlife preserve. Roughly two weeks later, after reviewing phone-location records that linked Zhao to Morris at the time of the murder, local officers and FBI agents arrested Morris, after stopping his vehicle.
Oakland County prosecutors described Morris as a “transient” with an extensive criminal record in both Michigan and Florida. His lengthy rap sheet includes some violent offenses, including a rape case in Michigan in 1989. He has been held without bail since his 2020 arrest.
Zhao a former LA player and commentator
Zhao was a rising star in the Los Angeles poker scene before a financial downturn led her to return to Michigan to live with her parents. “Susie Q” appeared on and occasionally served as a guest commentator on the Bicycle Casino’s “Live at the Bike!” streamed cash games.
Though largely a cash-game player, Zhao did play some tourneys. She notably cashed three times in the WSOP Main Event between 2012 and 2017. Her 90th-place run in the 2012 ME was worth $73,805, roughly one third of her recorded career tournament winnings of $222,671.
Zhao’s last recorded cash came later in 2017, and was followed by her extended downturn. Despite her bad-luck run, however, Zhao remained a popular and well-liked player whose violent death sent shockwaves through the poker community.
Featured image source: oakgov.com