In the middle of his trial, N.O. man pleads guilty to sexual assault of teens

In the middle of his trial, N.O. man pleads guilty to sexual assault of teens

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A New Orleans man was convicted Thursday (Feb. 21) of sexually assaulting two juvenile girls in 2017, according to District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office.

Devon Morris, now 21, abruptly ended his third-degree rape trial in the middle of his defense presentation by entering into a plea agreement that will see him serve 12 years in state prison and require him to register as a sex offender.

Under terms of the agreement, Morris pleaded guilty to one amended count of attempted third-degree rape. He also pleaded guilty as charged to two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile. Criminal District Judge Camille Buras imposed the maximum 10-year sentence for the rape attempt and sentences of two years on the indecent behavior counts. Those two-year sentences were ordered to be served concurrent to each other, but consecutive to the 10-year attempted rape sentence, for a total of 12 years.

Cannizzaro said Morris sexually assaulted two 15-year-old girls on the night of April 23, 2017. The victims were sharing a room that night in the same house in which Morris (then 19) was living. Neither the victims nor the defendant are related.

The case had to be proven without the aid of DNA evidence because both victims showered and changed clothes before reporting the sexual assaults. They disclosed the incident to one of their mothers, and then to hospital and New Orleans police officials within 24 hours of their assaults.

"This was not an easy case to prove through scientific evidence, so we and our victims felt it prudent to accept this guilty plea when offered," Cannizzaro said. "These brave young victims were consistent about what happened through their multiple statements, and their credibility was apparent as they testified, forcing this defendant's hand. I'm proud that our prosecutors were able to bring them the justice they deserved for this contemptible sexual attack."

Assistant District Attorneys Mark Lopez and Daniel Smart prosecuted the case

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