'Mercury' Morris convicted on drug charges

MIAMI -- Former Miami Dolphins running back Eugene 'Mercury' Morris was convicted Friday night on charges of cocaine trafficking, cocaine possession and conspiracy.

Morris, who broke down while testifying in his own defense Thursday, stood expressionless as the verdict was read. His wife, sitting behind him, chewed her fingernails.


Morris' attorney said he would appeal the verdict.

A jury of two women and four men deliberated about three hours before reaching a verdict.

'I feel bad for you, Merc. I'm just sorry,' Circuit Judge Ellen Morphonios Gable told Morris.

Judge Gable set sentencing for Jan. 20 and ordered Morris held without bond until then.

As Morris was led down a courthouse hallway handcuffed, he called to his attorney, Ron Strauss. Strauss embraced Morris, a star of the Dolphins' three Super Bowl appearances in the 1970s, and Morris affectionately patted him with his restrained hands.

The jury found Morris guilty on one count of trafficking in cocaine, one count of conspiracy to traffic in cocaine and two counts of possession. The trafficking conviction carries a mandatory penalty of at least 15 years in prison and he could be sentenced to a maximum of 40 years imprisonment.


The jury acquitted Morris on two counts of selling cocaine.

Assistant State attorney George Yoss said after the verdict: 'Obviously I'm very satistfied... It's a stiff punishment but the Legislature has decided that those who deal in drugs must pay the price.'

'We cheered when he caught the football. We booed when he fumbled,' Yoss had told the jury. 'But he fumbled a lot more than a football game. He fumbled his life away.'

Morris admitted taking part in the $120,000 drug deal last August, but said that he is now a reformed man, having kicked the drug habit with the help of religion.

Morris' attorneys claimed he was a victim of entrappment and the witnesses against him were unreliable.

Morris took the stand in his own defense Thursday and revealed in emotional testimony his football injuries and the drug habit he developed trying to ease the pain.

He said he had bought only small quantities of the drug for personal use, but that he had been a 'soft touch' for the mid-August drug deal in which he acted as middleman.

At one point during testimony, Morris left the courtroom sobbing after his lawyer asked if he had considered suicide during his depressed drug-taking days.


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