A 20-year-old Baltimore woman found dead on the bleachers of a local high school this week was discovered in a kneeling position with trauma to her neck, her hands bound with rope and a prom picture of her alleged killer, according to charging documents in the homicide case.
And before Jasmine Pierce-Morris had gone to the practice field at Reginald F. Lewis High School to meet 22-year-old Christopher Rather, she’d texted a close friend about her eagerness to be done with him, the documents show.
“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,” Pierce-Morris 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?!?”
Pierce-Morris was found not breathing on the bleachers in the 2400 block of Westfield Avenue in Northeast Baltimore on Tuesday morning, and pronounced dead shortly after. Police announced they had arrested Rather in the killing Friday, charging him with first- and second-degree murder. He was being held without bail, and did not have an attorney listed in court records.
Police said in court documents that Pierce-Morris’ friend and her mother told detectives that she had been trying to avoid Rather recently and had started dating someone else, but Rather was “obsessed with her.”
A police SWAT team raided Rather’s Baltimore home on Thursday. After he was taken into police headquarters for questioning, the documents say, Rather told police he had two “alibi witnesses” who would clear him of the crime.
However, police wrote, those alleged witnesses were located and interviewed, and their accounts “did not corroborate” Rather’s statements. “In fact, one witness admitted that Mr. Rather had asked the witness to lie for him,” police wrote in the charging documents.
A woman who answered the door Friday at the address listed for Rather in court records declined to comment.
Pierce-Morris’ mother, Tina Morris, declined to comment Friday on the case against Rather or the circumstances surrounding her daughter’s death. But she said her daughter “had a beautiful spirit” and recalled her love for poetry and drama and her performing in plays as a kid, including “The Lion King” and “The Nutcracker.”
“She was my joy,” Tina Morris said. “She loved god. She loved family. She loved people.”
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A Baltimore City Public Schools spokeswoman confirmed Friday that both Pierce-Morris and Rather had been students in the city school system throughout their childhoods.
Pierce-Morris was enrolled from the fall of 2002 to the spring of 2016, when she graduated.
Rather was enrolled from the fall of 2004 to the spring of 2008, and then again from the fall of 2011 to the spring of 2013. He did not graduate, the spokeswoman said.
Juda McGannon, who mentored Pierce-Morris with the organization Sisters Circle, previously told The Baltimore Sun that Pierce-Morris was part of the first graduating class from the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women in 2016.