A Baltimore jury convicted Christopher Rather Monday of the second-degree murder of his ex-girlfriend, finding he stabbed and strangled her on the football bleachers of a Northeast Baltimore high school.
When the jury read the verdict, Rather, 23, hung his head. Jurors also found him guilty of one weapons charge.
He faces 43 years in prison. The jurors acquitted him of first-degree murder.
Doctors performed an autopsy and found she had a fractured skull. The 20-year-old woman had been repeatedly stabbed in her neck. Doctors found tiny hemorrhages, indicating she had been strangled.
Pierce-Morris had not been seen since she left the previous evening for her shift overnight at the Amazon warehouse. She never showed up.
Detectives found a clue in one of the last text messages she sent a friend.
“Soooo, Chris wanted to talk to me today right. I’m meeting him at this football field. I think this goin be our last conversation,” she wrote. “He told me he was leaving, might be going to California or Hawaii. Imma find out when he get here but ain’t that good news?!?”
Meanwhile, friends and family remembered Pierce-Morris for her love of poetry and drama. She had performed in childhood plays “The Lion King” and “The Nutcracker.” In 2016, she became a member of the first graduating class of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women.