Vancouver man has charges dismissed from 2018 incident

Photo courtesy family of Andrew Morris
Photo courtesy family of Andrew Morris

Superior Court Judge Suzan Clark dismissed multiple charges against Andrew Morris

A Vancouver man involved in a January 2018 incident in which he and one other individual both suffered gunshot wounds, had his charges dismissed this week in Clark County Superior Court. Judge Suzan Clark dismissed charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree assault and attempted second-degree murder against Andrew Morris, a graduate of Evergreen High School and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran

“This was a case of self-defense,’’ said Vancouver attorney Angus Lee, who represented Morris. “Andrew Morris is totally relieved to be vindicated.’’

Morris, who was 22 at the time of the incident, had just returned to his hometown of Vancouver after the completion of his tour of duty. The 2018 incident, which court records described as a drug deal gone wrong, involved an exchange of gunshots in the Ellsworth Neighborhood of Vancouver.

“This case was only charged because career criminal Devan Graham, the alleged victim, lied to the police,’’ Lee said in a statement Thursday (Nov. 2). “In the end, there was no fact or evidence-based reason to take Mr. Graham’s side or believe he had told the truth about the event in question. In fact, Mr. Graham’s statement of how the event transpired has now been proven false by crime laboratory testing.’’

While the case was still active in Superior Court, Graham was interviewed by Lee.  

“In an attempt to justify shooting Morris, Graham provided a totally false narrative of the event, in which he asserted that there was an exchange of gunfire occurring while the two were both inside of a car, and while they were in very close proximity to each other,’’ Lee said. 

Lee believed that Graham’s story did not match the known evidence and believed the story was disprovable if the crime lab conducted additional gunshot residue testing of the clothing that Graham and Morris were wearing at the time of the event.  

After Lee interviewed Graham, he sent a letter to the prosecution team seeking testing for exculpatory evidence.

“To the credit of the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office, that requested testing was later conducted by the crime laboratory,’’ Lee said. “The results of that testing has proved that all bullets in this matter were fired at ‘distance,’ and not near or inside the back seat of a car.  There was no gunshot residue, soot, or stippling on any of the clothing, including the shirt Mr. Graham was wearing when he claims he was shot at point blank (range). Simply put, the crime laboratory testing proved that Graham has been lying about the event and his version of the event is not true.’’

Lee said the case against Morris was entirely premised on Graham’s version of events that the testing proved was not true.  

“In addition to the scientific evidence showing Graham should not have been trusted, so does his criminal history,’’ Lee stated. “Graham has been charged with two separate burglaries, assault of a child, and other crimes.’’  

Following the completion of the laboratory testing, Lee repeatedly requested a supplemental interview of Graham to question him about the new evidence that showed Graham’s narrative was false. 

“No follow up interview with Graham was ever provided by the prosecution because once it was clear Graham was lying Graham stopped cooperating,’’ Lee said. “As a result, the court recently ordered a deposition of Graham.’’

Graham’s later deposition testimony confirmed he was not the victim, according to Lee. 

“When Graham was asked under oath if he was high on drugs when he shot Andrew Morris, Graham stated, ‘I’m invoking my Fifth Amendment right,’” Lee said. “When Graham was asked if he shot Mr. Morris while Morris was running away, Graham again took the Fifth. When Graham was asked if he originally lied to the police about what occurred he again took the Fifth.’’  

Following the deposition, Lee filed a motion to admit Graham’s deposition testimony as evidence at the trial that was scheduled to occur next month. The dismissal comes just a few days before the scheduled hearing of another motion on the case.

“The prosecution did the right thing by dismissing this case,’’ Lee concluded. “Andrew Morris was the actual victim and we hope that prosecution will now go forward and file charges against Devan Graham for shooting Andrew Morris.’’ 

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