Trial Begins for Former Stripper Accused of 1999 Des Moines Slaying

A stripper from Nebraska is scheduled to go to trial this week for the 1999 slaying of a Des Moines man.

Andrea Morris, 30, Lincoln, Neb., is charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Patrick McRae, 43, a former video production coordinator for Iowa Public Television. If convicted, Morris would face life in prison without parole.

McRae's body was found on the porch of his home. An autopsy showed he died of multiple stab wounds to the neck.

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Morris was arrested in April 2005 after an informant told police in Nebraska that he took Morris to McRae's home the night he was killed and saw her leave the house covered in blood and carrying a bag full of McRae's belongings.

The informant, Mars Davis, also of Lincoln, Neb., told investigators that he dropped Morris off at McRae's house after she danced at a bar north of Des Moines.

Davis is expected to testify at the trial, court records show.

Police have described Morris and Davis as acquaintances but have not offered a motive for the slaying.

Lawyers for Morris have suggested it was Davis who killed McRae.

The case went unsolved for years, until Davis gave his account of what happened to police in 2004.

Police also said Davis gave details of items reported missing from McRae's home, such as clothing, compact discs, cassette tapes and a glass figurine.

Police said Morris was linked to McRae through DNA tests done on blood found mixed with McRae's. Authorities also tested blood found in her Ford Bronco, which was discovered in New Orleans more than five years after McRae's death.

Jury selection is scheduled to start Monday in Polk County District Court, said Morris' attorney Rachel Regenold.

Opening arguments are expected to begin either Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning, Regenold said.

The trial is scheduled to last up to two weeks.

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