Man indicted on murder charges in prostitute killings

Thursday, April 24th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PHOENIX (AP) _ A former Oklahoman was indicted on five counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of prostitutes whose bodies were found in a blighted downtown neighborhood over a nine-month period.

Cory Deonn Morris, who was arrested April 12, had previously told police that he lured women to his motorhome with drugs and strangled five of them during sex, according to court records. He acknowledged dumping the body of the sixth woman but wouldn't say how she died, the records said.

Morris was charged last week in the killings of Jade Velasquez, 34, Sherri Noah, 37, and Julie Ann Castillo, 39.

The grand jury indictment handed up Tuesday formally charges him in those deaths. It also charges him with murder in the killings of Barbara Codman, 46, and Shanteria Davis, 32.

Authorities are still reviewing the death of 43-year-old Janice Irvin, who was the first woman found dead in the Garfield neighborhood _ an area with a reputation for drugs and gang violence just blocks from Phoenix's red light district. Records say that Morris acknowledged dumping Irvin's body after the two had sex but didn't address how she was killed.

Morris is being held without bond in the Maricopa County Jail.

When the bodies began appearing in July, police initially treated them as routine drug overdoses. That changed as the body count increased.

Morris, 24, was arrested after his uncle contacted authorities saying he found a woman's body in the motorhome where his nephew had been staying.

Most of the bodies were found just blocks from the motorhome, which was in the back yard of Morris' uncle.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has also been looking at Morris in connection with four women who were found dead in rural Oklahoma between 1999 and 2001. Morris moved to Phoenix from Oklahoma about three years ago.