Suns' Morris Twins Charged With Felony Assault

The Phoenix Suns' Markieff and Marcus Morris face felony assault charges stemming from a beating that landed a man in the hospital in January.

According to police, the Morris twins were among a group of five men who assaulted 36-year-old Erik Hood outside a high school basketball tournament in Phoenix. The Morris twins have known Hood since their early high school days, and apparently have held a grudge against Hood since 2010, because of a text message sent to the twins' mother.

A previously released police report says one of the twins' friends told them that Hood sent their mom a text saying something to the effect of him wanting to be her boyfriend. The text in question actually was Hood telling their mother he'd always be there for her.

Hood, a former pro basketball player himself, had been something of a mentor for the twins, now 25, before they had a falling out over the text.

On January 24, when the Morrises were at the basketball tournament at a gym near 15th Avenue and Colter Street, one of the men they were with approached Hood, who was leaving the facility, and things got physical. Eventually, according to police, the whole group of five -- including the twins -- kicked and punched Hood.

The other three men were identified as Christopher Melendez, Julius Kane, and Gerald Bowman.

Hood was hospitalized for his injuries, which included a broken nose.

All five men were indicted by a Maricopa County grand jury on two counts each of felony aggravated assault. One charge involves "caus[ing] a fracture" to a body part and the other describes assault while Hood's "capacity to resist was substantially impaired," according to the indictment.

"We are disappointed to learn that Marcus and Markieff Morris have been charged," Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby says in a statement. "This is a serious matter, and we will treat it as such. However, at this time, we think it is most appropriate to continue to monitor the legal process as it unfolds before responding further."

A summons for the twins says their first court date is on May 7 in Phoenix.

Markieff was drafted by the Suns in the first round of the 2011 NBA draft. He averaged 15.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game this season, both career highs, as the Suns finished the season with a losing record, well short of qualifying for the playoffs. After the mid-season trade of Goran Dragic, Markieff became the second-leading scorer on the team, behind Eric Bledsoe.

Marcus was drafted one spot after his brother by the Houston Rockets, and was traded to the Suns in the 2012-12 season. Marcus averaged 10.4 points and 4.8 rebounds last season, both career highs. Marcus was second on the team in three-pointers made, behind only Gerald Green.

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