A Collin County jury will soon decide whether Enrique Arochi kidnapped Christina Morris from Plano’s Shops at Legacy in August 2014.
Prosecutors rested their case Monday afternoon on the eighth day of trial testimony. Defense attorneys rested before noon, and closing arguments are now underway.
Enrique Arochi has been indicted on one count of aggravated kidnapping in Morris' disappearance. If a jury convicts him, he could be sentenced to life in prison.
On the night she disappeared, Morris was out partying with her friends. Her mother, Jonni McElroy, testified that she last talked to Morris on the evening of August 29, 2014.
“She sent me a selfie and a text message on her way out,” McElroy said.
That was the last time she ever heard from her daughter.
Arochi was an acquaintance and testimony showed that he sometimes bought drugs from Hunter Foster, Morris’ drug-dealer boyfriend. Arochi was partying with Morris and her friends in the hours before she disappeared.
About 10:37 p.m. on Aug. 29, 2014, Arochi texted his girlfriend, “Hey, mi amor, I’m going to sleep.”
Instead, he went partying with Morris and her friends. One of the friends had invited him to accompany them.
About 3:30 a.m., Morris and Arochi left a friend’s apartment. Morris had been repeatedly calling Foster, who would not take her call. She sent him text messages saying she lost her keys and that she needed a ride home.
Lead detective Robyn Busby testified that she believes that Arochi agreed to give Morris a ride home.
“He lied to her to get into the car,” testified Busby, who said she worked solely on the Morris case for about a year.
Video surveillance shows Arochi and Morris entering the parking garage walking side by side at 3:55 a.m. on Aug. 30, 2014. Busby said it contradicts Arochi’s statement that they had already parted ways. His Camaro leaves several minutes later. Arochi has said that he does not know what happened to Morris.
The detective also testified that Arochi’s toll records contradicted his story about how he got home.
But clearly the linchpin of the case is the discovery of Morris’ DNA in two places on the mat in his trunk and the trunk’s weather stripping. Arochi told detectives that Morris had “never” been in his car.
“We have her DNA in his trunk,” Busby said. “To me, it is not reasonable that she would get in there voluntarily.”
Defense attorneys sought to poke holes in the prosecution's case, but have not explained how her DNA ended up in his truck.
Prosecutors introduced into evidence pictures of injuries that Arochi had to his arm and hands. Arochi told detectives that he was injured when a tire fell on him. He said he got mad and punched the car.
Busby said the injuries are a result of a struggle between Morris and Arochi.
Surveillance video shows that Arochi was wiping down his truck and the passenger side of his car just hours after Morris disappeared.
McElroy became emotional as she described receiving a message from one of her daughter’s friends letting her know that no one had heard from her in several days.
“I left everything,” she said. “I left Oklahoma. I left my job. I told my husband, I told my stepkids, ‘I’m not leaving until we find her.’’’
Defense attorneys also sought to give jurors an alternate theory for the murder, an effort that the judge shut down.
The judge sent the jurors out of the room when defense attorneys brought up a jail letter sent by a prisoner named Cody Blue.
Out of the presence of jurors, Detective Cathy Stamm said Blue was an Aryan Brotherhood inmate, who claimed that he had heard that Christina Morris had witnessed a stabbing and had been killed as a result.
“We are in such rank hearsay here,” the judge said out of the presence of jurors. "It is pathetic.”
Stamm said that they had questioned the victim of the stabbing and that he had never heard of Morris. She said they had also spoken to the Fort Worth police detective who had the case, as well as a federal agent involved in the case, and neither had ever heard of Morris.
“I don’t have any reason to believe that the information is accurate,” Stamm told the judge.
District Judge Mark Rusch told defense attorneys it was clear they were trying to give jurors the idea that some “really bad guys” had a motive to kill Morris. Defense attorneys said they were merely trying to question whether police had done all they could to run down the tip.
The judge asked Stamm how many tips police had received during the course of the investigations.
“Hundreds,” she replied.
She testified that all of the tips had been checked out.
The judge ultimately concluded it was hearsay and he would not allow testimony to be heard by jurors about Blue.
WFAA reporter Jobin Panicker is in the courtroom for the trial. Follow his tweets below: