Eriese Tisdale found guilty of 1st-degree murder

Posted at 12:00 AM, Oct 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-02 00:00:51-04


Eriese Tisdale is now facing a possible death sentence, after a jury convicted him for the murder of St. Lucie County Sheriff's Deputy Gary Morales.

Morales was shot and killed during a traffic stop in fort pierce in February of 2013.

Tisdale was found guilty Thursday on all 4 charges. First degree murder, aggravated assault, possessing firearm as felon, fleeing law enforcement.


Deliberations are underway for the Eriese Tisdale trial after closing arguments concluded just after noon.

At about 1:45 the jury asked to see transcripts of testimony from witnesses to the shooting. Lawyers for both sides returned to the courtroom to discuss the request.

At 2:14 p.m., the jury was brought back into the courtroom to hear audio recordings of the testimony because written transcripts were not available. 

Jurors returned to deliberations after three-plus hours of listening recorded testimony.

Tisdale faces the death penalty in the Feb. 28, 2013 shooting death of St. Lucie County Sgt. Gary Morales.

RELATED: Timeline | Photos from the trial Photos of Sgt. Gary Morales' funeral | Photos from the scene of deputy's shooting

The defense for Tisdale rested their case Wednesday.  Attorneys said Tisdale will not be taking the stand to testify in his own defense.

On Thursday morning, Asst. State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl played police dispatch calls for jurors from the day of the fatal shooting.

State attorneys spoke first during closing arguments, asking jurors to simply follow the law and leave emotions aside as they make their decision.
Prosecutors want jurors to feel the shooting was premeditated, something Tisdale did consciously to avoid going to prison for having a gun in his car.
But the defense is stressing to jurors this was a spontaneous shooting.

On Thursday, state prosecutors showed a slide with Morales' picture, explaining he was simply trying to keep his neighborhood safe but paid the price with his life.

"Who runs? Innocent people don't run. Guilty people run. People who have something to hide run. People who are concerned about their future run. And (Tisdale) ran," said Chief Asst. State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl.
Jurors could reach a verdict by Thursday afternoon.

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