English found guilty

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 5, 2002

The courtroom Wednesday afternoon was silent as Jermaine English was found guilty of capital murder in the slaying of Terry Morris.

English now faces a death sentence or life in prison without parole.

Judge Jack Meigs instructed the jury to return Thursday for sentencing.

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According to defense attorney Bill Whatley, in a capital murder case there is an automatic appeal.

Deputy Sheriff Roy Freine, who worked on the case, was called to the stand by Whatley, Whatley showed Freine a series of photographs including pictures of the car that was used by English and co-defendant Delwan Smith on Jan. 9, 2001, pictures of the C&L Laundromat where Morris was found, and satellite images of Orrville.

Freine said that in one set of pictures, he could not see any obvious tire tracks. The picture in question was taken of the laundromat shortly after the murder occurred.

Freine said no fingerprints could be processed from the door and handle of Morris’ truck.

Also, Freine said that DNA tests from bloodied money found days after the murder in a different location and for cigarette butts near the laundromat had not yet been processed.

Freine said that the two guns Smith had referred to in his testimony and a sawed off shotgun had never been recovered.

District Attorney Ed Greene also questioned Freine about the bloodied money and the various tire and shoe tracks in the vicinity of the laundromat. Freine said that there was no evidence linking the money to the murder and that there were many different tracks that night.

Whatley also called Reginald McMillian of Orrville to the stand. He said that he had called Sheryl Tucker of Selma the night of the murder asking for a ride. McMillian said that English had picked him up, and that no one else was in the car – a statement contradictory to Smith’s testimony on Tuesday.

Under Greene’s questioning, McMillian admitted to drinking that night. He could not recall whether or not he had also smoked marijuana.

The closing arguments in the case began with Greene stressing points that he thought were important.

Greene said that Morris’ death didn’t occur because of a great cause or for his country, but instead because of &uot;the almighty dollar.&uot;

Greene also said that Smith told his story because he was convinced he was on tape so he told it – &uot;slowly and surely.&uot;

Whatley explained during his closing argument that Smith made the case for the state. If you take Smith out of the picture, Whatley said, then there’s no case.

Whatley also focused on time discrepancies in the case. Bringing a large chalkboard in view of the jury, he wrote down the names of various witnesses and the times they said their testimony occurred.

According to Whatley, there was a problem with the time.

Whatley also emphasized that if the jury didn’t believe a witness then they could ignore his testimony completely.

Greene continued his closing remarks after Whatley had finished. He asked the jury to consider who knew Orrville better: Smith, who was familiar with Selma; or English, who had been born and raised in Orrville.

Greene also said that all the witnesses said that the times they gave were only estimates.

Meigs then charged the jury to consider three different charges.

According to Greene, the jury first had to consider capital murder. If they had found English not guilty of that then they would have considered felony murder, then robbery before issuing a verdict of not guilty.

Since the jury found English guilty of capital murder, said Greene, they stopped their deliberations and read their verdict to the court.

The jury deliberated for close to two hours before reaching their guilty verdict.