October 3, 2017 at 7:27 PM
Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris was acquitted Tuesday of beating a man in Phoenix and will be cleared to join the team without punishment from the NBA.
A Maricopa County (Ariz.) Superior Court jury found Morris, along with twin brother, Marcus, who plays for the Boston Celtics, and an acquaintance not guilty on aggravated assault charges stemming from a 2015 incident. The Morris brothers and Gerald Bowman had been accused of attacking Erik Hood, 36, following a basketball tournament. However, after beginning deliberations Monday afternoon, the jury ruled in favor of the Morris brothers and Bowman.
Morris, who recently underwent sports hernia surgery, has not been with the Wizards because of the trial. Although Morris is expected to miss some regular season games while he rehabilitates from the procedure, he can now focus on his recovery.
In a statement, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld expressed satisfaction over Morris’s acquittal.
“We are very happy for Markieff and were very confident that this would be the outcome based on both the facts of the case and what we’ve come to know of him as a person since he joined the team,” the statement read. “We look forward to him rejoining us soon.”
On Monday, Coach Scott Brooks said he expected Morris to return to Washington at the conclusion of the trial.
“As soon as it ends, we’ll have him back,” Brooks said before the Wizards’ first preseason game. “We look forward to that day, and hopefully everything works out and we can have him back soon.”
Brooks said he has communicated with Morris through text but also tried to give him space as he went through the court process.
“I try not to bother him daily. I just try to touch base, just knowing that we’re thinking of him and can’t wait to have him back,” Brooks said. “He’s great to be around. He brings us toughness. He’s a big-time player that helps us win a lot of games.”
If Morris had been found guilty on aggravated assault, a felony, he would have faced a maximum prison sentence of 3.75 years and a presumptive sentence of 2.5 years.
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