By Joe Johnson
The Georgia Supreme Court this week upheld the conviction of an Athens man who murdered his estranged wife's boyfriend over three years ago.
In an August 2018 trial, an Athens-Clarke County jury found Tommy Lee Morris, 57, guilty of murdering 43-year-old Tony Curtis “Showtime” Foster Jr. during an altercation at the Blue Moon club on Linda Avenue on March 5, 2017. He was sentenced to life plus 15 years in prison.
Trial evidence showed that Foster was shot more than 20 times at close range with an SAR-1, a Romanian made assault rifle. In the months leading up to the murder, there had been verbal conflict between the men based on Foster’s romantic relationship with Mr. Morris’s estranged wife and her children.
On March 5, 2017, Morris went to the Blue Moon club and approached and spoke with his estranged wife, which provoked a confrontation with Foster. When the men went outside, Morris went to his parked car, retrieved the loaded SAR-1 rifle, and opened fire on Mr. Foster. When Mr. Foster fell to the ground, Mr. Morris stood over Mr. Morris’s body and continued to fire into his head and chest.
“Mr. Morris literally annihilated Mr. Foster,” said acting Western Judicia Circuit District Attorney Brian Paterson, who tried the case and defended the conviction on appeal.
Morris testified at his trial and claimed that he acted in self-defense, which was rejected by the jury.
Athens-Clarke County detectives learned in their investigation that Morris went target shooting the day of the murder.
In March this year, Morris appealed to the Supreme Court after Superior Court Judge H. Patrick Haggard denied his motion for a new trial.
On Monday the Supreme Court “found that the prosecution presented evidence that was more than sufficient for a rational jury to reject Morris’s theory of self-defense and find him guilty” of murdering Foster, Patterson said.
In addition to two counts of felony murder, the Supreme Court upheld Morris’ convictions on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
“I am thankful that Mr. Morris’ murder conviction has been affirmed and that he has been held accountable for his actions,” the prosecutor said. “Mr. Foster’s large, extended family is relieved that justice has been served.”
Foster left behind eight children and three grandchildren.