COLLIN COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Deliberations resumed today in the Enrique Arochi kidnapping trial. The 26-year-old is accused in connection with the disappearance of Christina Morris in 2014.
After nearly eight hours of deliberations Tuesday night, the jury did not reach a verdict. This morning jurors returned to the Collin County Courthouse to pick up where they left off. But when they arrived, around 8:30, the makeup of the panel was different.
Last night one of the jurors fell ill and was dismissed by the judge. The judge made the move and assigned an alternate juror to the panel just before declaring a recess and sending the jury to a hotel to be sequestered.
Once again family and friends of Morris are waiting outside the courtroom for a verdict, but there’s no indication that will happen anytime soon. They’ve waited more than two years for answers about her disappearance – her body has never been found.
During closing arguments Tuesday the judge allowed a camera in the courtroom. Arochi listened as prosecutors told the jury that he likely killed Morris not long after they were seen on surveillance video walking at the Shops at Legacy in Plano. “What we’d all like to know is where is Christina Morris. We don’t know,” prosecutor Zeke Fortenberry told the panel. “There’s only one reasonable explanation of the facts and that’s that the defendant is responsible for the kidnapping of Christina Morris.”
Arochi’s attorneys tried to pin her disappearance on Morris’ ex-boyfriend, and show that the evidence collected by police was not conclusive. “There’s been no evidence of the what, when, where or how. So they pull this accusation together and in support of it they speculate and guess,” defense attorney Keith Gore said. “They can’t give you any explanation. Beyond a reasonable doubt is more than that – what ‘more than that’ is that’s up to you. But this is not supposed to be an easy process.”
The family of Christina Morris was in the courtroom for closing arguments and at became emotional at times, including when Arochi’s attorneys attempted to cast doubt on the state’s case.
Arochi was the last person seen with Morris before she vanished. The two had been former high school classmates. Cameras at The Shops at Legacy in Plano caught Arochi and Morris walking together inside of the shopping center’s parking garage. After detectives found matching DNA samples in the trunk of Arochi’s car, he was arrested and charged with Aggravated Kidnapping.
The jury deliberated until 9:00 p.m. Tuesday and family members admitted they not expect deliberations to take so long. At one point, during those more than seven hours, jurors sent out a note about a dispute over testimony.
If convicted Arochi faces up to life in prison.
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