Suspect in beating death of disabled veteran enters guilty plea; avoids death sentence

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — A capital murder suspect pleaded guilty in a Tuscaloosa County courtroom Monday to avoid a possible death sentence.

The murder trial for James Morris Jr. was expected to begin Monday morning but instead, Morris, accompanied by his attorneys, entered a guilty plea. Morris was charged with murder in the 2012 beating death of Greta Johnson, a disabled veteran. Police found her body in an abandoned trailer.

Steve Money is the attorney representing Morris. He says taking the plea deal was the best thing to do.

“We actually were able to get a plea agreement with the state this weekend on this case, and hopefully it will provide the family some closure. It is a sad time anytime we are here, but I think it’s a good outcome for both sides,” Money said.

Tuscaloosa County Circuit Judge John England sentenced James Morris to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Police arrested three other suspects along with Morris after the murder. Authorities believe the victim owed the suspect money for drugs.

James Morris has eight prior felony convictions including: assault, burglary and theft.

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