JAMES “APPLEJACK” MORRIS PLEADS GUILTY TO 2012 GRETA JOHNSON MURDER
Life in prison with the possibility of parole; that’s what James Morris Jr. will serve after making a guilty plea Monday morning in Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court for his part in the murder of disabled veteran Greta Johnson. Johnson was found beaten to death inside an abandoned trailer off Sanders Ferry Road in April of 2012. Prosecutors say a ceramic vase and chair leg were among the murder weapons.
“It’s a sad time any time we are here,” defense attorney Steve Money told WVUA 23 at Monday’s plea hearing. “But we think this is a good outcome for both sides.”
The plea could have spared the defendant’s life. “He was actually subject to the death penalty or life without the possibility of parole, so life with the possibility of parole is a good outcome in this case,” Money said.
Morris is just one of the four who were charged with Johnson’s murder. The others are Jeffrey Sanders, Leroy Hines and his wife, Cynthia Mack.
Testimony from 2012 revealed the suspects’ motive for killing Johnson may have stemmed from her owing them drug money.
Although her autopsy revealed the cause of death was blunt force trauma, prosecutors believe James Morris Jr. slashed the victim’s throat with a box-cutter.
Money feels his client is remorseful. ” I hope on our part to provide some closure for the family in this case,” he said.
Cynthia Mack made her own plea agreement in October.
Leroy Hines’ and Jeffrey Sanders’ cases are still pending.