Ravens' Morris faces new charges Running back alleged to have struck woman at teammate's party

November 18, 1997|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Ravens running back Bam Morris, already facing charges of violating probation, was charged with second-degree assault of a Texas woman at a birthday party Sunday night for one of his teammates.

The alleged incident occurred at Martin's West in Woodlawn after the Ravens' 10-10 tie with the Philadelphia Eagles at Memorial Stadium. Many players attended the party.

According to a Baltimore County police report, Morris, 25, and his wife, Stephanie, were involved in an argument with April Dawn Brittain, 27, of Dallas, when Morris grabbed Brittain by the arms, choked her and hit her in the back, causing scratches on her chest and red marks on her neck. Brittain also complained of bruising on her arms and back.

Brittain said the argument began after Stephanie Morris accused Brittain of having an affair with her husband.

A trial date has been set for Dec. 17 in Catonsville. The alleged offense is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment and a $2,500 fine.

"At this point, I can't talk about it," said Bam Morris. "I have been advised by my lawyers not to comment. The true story will come out in due time. I would love to talk about it, but I can't."

Ravens officials said Morris will remain with the team until the trial or pending new developments in the incident.

Morris is scheduled to appear in a Rockwall, Texas, court on Nov. 25 on charges of violating his 10-year probation for drug possession by using alcohol and by failing to report to his probation officer seven times between July 1996 and August 1997.

He was arrested on those charges on Oct. 10 by Rockwall authorities and released on bail.

Morris' probation is supervised by Maryland's Division of Parole and Probation, which reports to officials in Rockwall.

Texas officials might postpone his November hearing to see if he is convicted in Maryland, which would violate his probation.

"In a normal situation, we might increase sanctions such as reporting more often or increased counseling, particularly if there isn't an arrest," said Roland Knapp, director of the parole and probation unit in Maryland. "In this case, we will get a report and bring it to the attention of the Texas authorities. From that point, we would do what they would do if he was in Texas."

Rockwall District Attorney Roy Sumrow did not return calls yesterday seeking comment.

Ravens owner Art Modell has previously said Morris would be waived if he were involved in another off-the-field incident, but he declined to comment yesterday.

Brittain also declined to comment.

"We spoke with Bam earlier, and, at this point, we're still gathering details for the truth," said Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda. "We expect to have him until we learn more, and then we'll address the situation if there is a need to."

Brittain told police she attended the birthday party given for Ravens right offensive tackle Orlando Brown.

Brittain told police she was talking with Bam Morris when she was approached by Morris' wife, who accused her of having an affair with him. The police report said Brittain denied the accusation and walked away.

Brittain told police she was talking with someone else when Bam Morris walked up, grabbed her by the arms, pushed her and began choking her. Brittain said she was struggling with Bam Morris when Stephanie Morris began hitting her while Bam Morris kept choking her.

Brittain told police that Ravens wide receiver Derrick Alexander helped to break up the fight and that she tried to use a cellular phone to call 911.

But before she could give all the details, another Ravens player took the phone and told her not to call police because "it was hurting the team."

A few minutes later, Brittain said, Bam Morris hit her on the back and grabbed her arms, causing her to hit her head on the glass doors of the building.

Stephanie Morris told WNUV-TV that Brittain tried to hit her husband in the face at the party, and when Stephanie Morris tried to intervene, Brittain swung at her. WBFF-TV reported that Stephanie Morris filed assault charges against Brittain last night in Catonsville. However, a district court official would not confirm that the charges had been filed.

Bam Morris pleaded guilty to marijuana possession after his arrest in March 1996 near Rockwall, where a police officer discovered nearly 6 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of his car. He served a five-game suspension at the start of last season.

Morris violated the league's substance and alcohol abuse policy and was suspended for the first four games this season.

Pub Date: 11/18/97

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