Even without knowing that the neo-Nazi tattoos on Bayzle Morgan’s neck, face and head had been covered for trial, jurors who found him guilty of robbery Friday said he had an intimidating presence.
The panel took about 3½ hours to convict Morgan after a two-week trial, and the decision could weigh heavily in a separate death penalty case against him.
Jurors said after the trial that they were unaware Morgan’s tattoos had been concealed, but seeing them would not have changed their verdict.
Some said that Morgan’s presence — a shaved head and stone-blue eyes — could have been perceived as a threat when he stole a motorcycle from a man in a northwest valley apartment complex. One juror said Morgan, 24, looked “scary” and would lock eyes as they entered the courtroom.
I WOULD WALK AWAY FROM HIM
“I would walk away from this guy in the grocery store,” said another juror, who requested anonymity.
She did not know Morgan had been wearing makeup throughout the trial but said she thought he looked sick. She also wondered why his eyebrows “were messed up.”
The phrase “skin head” is tattooed above Morgan’s eyes. In addition, “Baby Nazi” is tattooed across his neck, “Most Wanted” is tattooed across his forehead, an iron cross is tattooed on the back of his head, and a swastika within a clover is tattooed under his left eye.
Just days before the robbery, prosecutors say, Morgan killed 75-year-old Jean Main inside her home, shooting her in the back of the head before stealing several items.
In a notice of intent to seek capital punishment for the slaying, prosecutors said they would argue that Morgan was convicted of “a felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person of another.”
Prosecutors alleged that Morgan used a gun to steal a black and yellow 2008 Suzuki 600 GSX-R, but jurors said they had reasonable doubt as to whether he was carrying a weapon at the time. Still, they believed he threatened the victim.
During the robbery trial, Morgan’s head and face were completely shaved, except for a small, fuzzy patch of blond hair on his chin.
In an effort to ensure that Morgan received a fair trial, each morning before the proceedings started, a makeup artist was called to court to perform a roughly hourlong makeover on Morgan. Occasionally, the artist was called back to court for a touch-up.
The makeup was scrubbed off before he was returned to the Clark County Detention Center each evening.
County officials said they had set aside at least $1,200 for the makeovers.
By law, jurors are supposed to consider only the facts of the case, not a defendant’s appearance. Those who decided Morgan’s guilt without seeing his tattoos said they did not feel deceived by the cover-up and understood that he had a right to a fair trial.
Morgan’s death penalty trial is scheduled to be heard in front of another judge, who may have to decide whether the tattoos should be covered again.
Contact David Ferrara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.