A Sackets Harbor man on trial for allegedly trying to kill his wife in 2010 witnessed her being unfaithful in the hours before the shooting, according to opening statements Monday in the case.
A jury was seated in the Jefferson County Court trial of Darron S. Morris, 43, who is charged with second-degree attempted murder for allegedly trying to kill his wife, Sherry L., by shooting her with a pistol Aug. 4, 2010, during a domestic dispute at their Madison Barracks apartment. Mr. Morris allegedly threatened police as they rescued his wife and then engaged in a five-hour standoff with police, at some point shooting himself in the head.
Assistant District Attorney Harmony A. Healy, who is prosecuting the case with Senior Assistant District Attorney Aaron D. Carr, said the Morrises were celebrating that night at the Sackets Harbor American Legion hall because Mrs. Morris had just learned she had been accepted into the Sackets Harbor Volunteer Fire Department as an emergency medical technician.
She said in her opening statement that the couple was talking with three Fort Drum soldiers recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan when Mrs. Morris went missing. She said Mr. Morris found her in the card room at the legion hall with one of the soldiers in various states of undress.
The couple left the legion hall and argued on the way home, with Mrs. Morris claiming her husband threatened to kill her, Miss Healy said. She said that after they arrived home, Mrs. Morris went to sleep.
She was soon awakened by the sound of the defendant loading his gun, Miss Healy said.
Mrs. Morris suffered bullet wounds to her neck and abdomen that have left her paralyzed from the chest down. Miss Healy said that, after the shooting, Mr. Morris engaged in a standoff during which he taunted law enforcement to come in and get him. Officers believed Mr. Morris was armed with a shotgun, although a search of the premises revealed only the handgun allegedly used in the shooting, Miss Healy said.
Defense attorney Eric T. Swartz, Watertown, countered that the Morrises were regulars at the legion and did not go there to celebrate Mrs. Morriss acceptance into the Fire Department, as she learned she was named to the department only after arriving there. He claimed that once she found out, she started drinking tons of shots of alcohol. He said that although Mrs. Morris was flirting with the soldiers, Mr. Morris did not become jealous until finding her with one of the men, about 25 feet from where he was.
She wasnt in a state of undress, she was having sex with a stranger who just got back from Afghanistan, Mr. Swartz said.
Mr. Swartz denied that the couple fought on the way home and suggested that Mr. Morris did not shoot his wife or himself, without stating who may have. He claims Mrs. Morris told a responding officer that she had been shot with a rifle.
Rifle, rifle, rifle, Mr. Swartz said. Everyone saw a rifle, but there was no rifle.
Testimony is scheduled to begin this morning in the trial. Mrs. Morris is expected to testify.
Scheduling of the trial has been delayed as Mr. Morris underwent evaluations to determine his competency to stand trial, as well as while Mrs. Morris recuperated to a point where she is physically able to travel to Watertown to testify.