Gang member accused of killing Navy pilot at Horton Plaza to stand trial
SAN DIEGO — A gang member accused of fatally shooting a decorated Navy pilot and wounding his cousin in an unprovoked attack outside a comedy club at Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego must stand trial on murder and other charges, a judge ruled Tuesday.
According to evidence presented at a two-day preliminary hearing, Arrow Morris was outside the club arguing with his girlfriend at about 11:45 p.m. on June 10 when the 40-year-old defendant allegedly pulled out a gun and shot James Celani twice in the head and once in the chest.
The 43-year-old victim died at a hospital. His cousin was shot in the leg.
A woman who was in Morris’ group inside the club testified that security personnel visited their table two or three times because the defendant’s brother kept making disparaging comments about a gay comedian on stage.
The witness — identified only as Jazmyn — said Morris, his girlfriend, Ashley, and his brother walked out of the club after Morris accused Ashley of having romantic feelings toward Jazmyn.
She said she went outside and saw Morris rip his girlfriend’s purse from her hands and push her to the ground.
As she ran toward the couple, Jazmyn said she saw Morris pull out a gun. After turning to run away, she said she heard four to five shots ring out.
In other testimony, Morris’ girlfriend said he took off with her car after the shooting and left her and Jazmyn stranded.
Once she got home, she said she lied to police about what she had seen until finally telling them she witnessed Morris shoot the victims.
She testified that Morris had a gun in her car but told her that he wasn’t bringing it into the club, and said she didn’t confront him about the shooting because she feared for her safety.
Morris was arrested two days after the shooting.
Superior Court Judge Margo Lewis Hoy ruled that enough evidence was presented to order Morris to stand trial on charges of murder, attempted murder, being a felon in possession of a firearm and trying to dissuade a witness from testifying.
He faces 79 years to life in prison plus an additional eight years and four months behind bars if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund. She said Morris has a 2011 conviction for assault with a deadly weapon in a road rage attack in which he struck a motorist with a hammer.
Morris will be back in court Dec. 11 for arraignment.