Two members of law enforcement who dragged a gravely wounded Sherry L. Morris from her Sackets Harbor home in August 2010 both testified Tuesday in Jefferson County Court that she said it was her husband who had shot her.
Mrs. Morriss husband, Darron S. Morris, 43, is on trial, charged with second-degree attempted murder for allegedly trying to kill her by shooting her with a pistol Aug. 4, 2010, during a domestic dispute at their Madison Barracks apartment. Mr. Morris allegedly also 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.
Sheriffs Sgt. Todd L. OBrien said he was one of the first officers at the scene and was advised that other officers believed Mr. Morris was armed with a rifle. Based on the amount of blood reported by Deputy Matthew A. Vaughn to be surrounding Mrs. Morris in the foyer of her apartment, Sgt. OBrien said, he was concerned that she would bleed to death without immediate medical help.
Crawling on his stomach and flanked by other officers, Sgt. OBrien made an attempt to reach Mrs. Morris, but retreated when he heard a noise next to him and saw Mr. Morris approaching, he testified.
As I was bailing out, I heard him say, I will kill all of you (expletive), Sgt. OBrien said.
He said that after a brief tactical discussion, he and U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jose M. Martinez made a second attempt to reach Mrs. Morris.
We didnt think shed make it if we didnt make another attempt to get her out, he said.
The second attempt was successful, as Sgt. OBrien and Mr. Martinez were able to take hold of Mrs. Morriss arms and drag her from the foyer and down a porch, across a lawn to a waiting ambulance. While the rescue was taking place, Mrs. Morris told the officers that she had been shot.
She said by her husband, Darron Morris, Sgt. OBrien said.
Mr. Martinez, a former Army combat medic, said he initially thought Mrs. Morris might be dead, but then observed that she was breathing. He said she also told him she had been shot.
I believe I asked her who shot her and that was when she stated, It was my husband, Darron, Mr. Martinez testified.
Several officers who responded testified that they saw, or believed they saw, Mr. Morris wielding a long gun. However, Detective Gary M. Belch, who collected evidence in the case, testified no rifle was ever located in the apartment. Defense attorney Eric T. Swartz, Watertown, has suggested that there may have been someone other than Mr. Morris in the apartment with a rifle and that this person may have sneaked away from the scene after shooting the Morrises. Several officers testified, however, that the apartment was surrounded by law enforcement and that no one could have entered or left unobserved. A long, dark, cylindrical curtain rod and a walking stick found in the apartment have been entered into evidence.
Several officers testified that Mr. Morris made statements indicating that he was unwilling to surrender during the standoff, with Sackets Harbor Chief Richard G. Butch Coseo testifying that he heard Mr. Morris say, Im not coming out. Chief Coseo, who earlier had investigated a domestic incident at the Morrises home in which no charges were brought, said he was able to recognize the voice as Mr. Morriss even though he could not see him clearly. The chief said Mr. Morris continued to resist officers as he was led from his home.
Mrs. Morris was left paralyzed from the chest down in the incident, but is expected to testify against her husband. Testimony is set to resume this morning.