Suspects in Detroit school sub attack to stand trial

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Detroit — A Detroit man accused of attacking a substitute teacher last month at a Detroit high school was bound over for trial Friday on assault charges, while a felony charge was dropped against another defendant.

Detroit residents Cleveland Moore, 29, and Alonzo Griffin, 27, were charged last month with felonious assault and aggravated assault for allegedly attacking a 51-year-old substitute teacher Dec. 5 at Central Collegiate Academy on the city's west side.

36th District Judge Shannon Holmes said there was not enough evidence to charge Griffin with felonious assault. He remains charged with misdemeanor aggravated assault, according to his attorney, Antonio Tuddles.

Moore was bound over on both charges and is scheduled to be back in court Jan. 30 for an arraignment.

The sub, Lorenzo Morris, appeared in court on Friday with a cane. He testified that three men came to his classroom door asking to speak to him about an issue he had earlier in the day with Moore's wife, a teacher at the school.

Morris said he was asked by a school administrator to watch over another teacher's class, but he accidentally entered the classroom run by Moore's wife.

Morris last month told WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) and WDIV-TV (Channel 4) he had words with Moore's wife after he scolded her unruly students.

"She went and complained to the principal," Morris told WDIV last month. "She was telling them that I was inappropriate."

Morris identified two of the men outside his classroom as Griffin and Moore. He said the third man was not in court on Friday.

Moore had a shiny, metal object tucked into his left sleeve, Morris said on Friday. Morris later identified that object as a paint scraper. The teacher said he put his hands on Moore when the defendant raised his hand — and the paint scraper — as if to attack.

"I grabbed his arms. He was attacking me. I had to defend myself," he said.

Morris said that's when Griffin and the unidentified man attacked. "As I grabbed (Moore), I was jumped by two guys on either side of me."

Morris said the three men punched him in the head and the jaw.

"I don't know how many times (I was hit)," he said. "They were pretty adamant."

Morris said the fight moved into a nearby stairwell, where security guards intervened.

After the incident, Morris went to Henry Ford Hospital with injuries to his ear, head, lip and knee, he said.

Testimony on Friday was tense at times as Morris appeared to forget some details of the alleged attack and defense attorneys repeatedly objected to what they called speculative comments.

At one point, defense attorney Tuddles asked Morris to examine a police report he signed after the incident.

"I never read this," Morris said of the statement. "I don't remember signing these."

Tuddles and Timothy Dinan, Moore's attorney, both questioned Morris on whether he suffers from memory loss.

"Memory lapses, sometimes, maybe, but I don't know what you're asking," Morris said.

When pressed, Morris said he did not suffer from memory loss.

Tuddles also repeatedly objected throughout testimony as Morris answered several questions by indicating what he thought had occurred. Tuddles argued those answers were speculative, and the judge agreed.

Morris was the prosecution's only witness at the preliminary exam. Defense attorneys did not call a witness, but each made a motion for dismissal of charges.

"I found (Morris) to be a very poor historian at best, confusing the facts," Dinan said. The attorney also said Morris did not suffer any injuries consistent with his claim that Moore attacked with a weapon.

Tuddles called Morris "untruthful" and said Griffin only became involved in the fight to protect Moore.