Michigan man arrested for homicide in death of pro poker player found burned in lot
WXYZ / Meredith Rogowski / Oakland County
Susie Zhao, Jeffery Morris

UPDATE August 5, 2020:

The Detroit News reported Wednesday that Jeffery Morris, the suspect charged in the homicide of Susie Zhao, met Zhao at a Waterford Township motel the night before she was found dead, based on cellphone records, according to White Lake Police. Police said Morris is a transient sex offender.

Investigators said Zhao had stayed at the same motel on several occasions prior to last month.

Police said they have not determined a motive in Zhao's homicide. Morris has been charged with first-degree, premeditated murder.

Police said Morris was hospitalized in a non-life-threatening situation and was to be discharged and booked in the Oakland County Jail, the Detroit News reports.

Zhao, 33, was a professional poker player who most recently lived in Los Angeles. She returned to northern Oakland County, Michigan, on June 9, where her mother and stepfather live.


August 4, 2020:

via Hometown Life:

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (O&E Hometown Life) -- A Pontiac man and convicted sex offender is accused of planning and executing the homicide of Susie Zhao, a professional poker player, in White Lake Township.

Jeffery Bernard Morris, 60, was arraigned Tuesday by a district court judge in Clarkston on a felony charge of first-degree premeditated homicide in Zhao's death.

Morris is scheduled to appear in court for a probable cause conference on Aug. 18. Online court records indicate he is accused of killing Zhao on July 13.

Around 8:05 a.m. that day, two men found Zhao’s burned remains at a wooded parking area on the edge of the Pontiac Lake State Recreation Area, near Maceday Lake and Cross roads.

TRUE CRIME DAILY: Police seek tips after pro poker player Susie Zhao's burned body found in Michigan - TCD

Investigators took Morris into custody Friday morning after locating his vehicle near Interstate 275 and Michigan Avenue.

According to the Michigan Sex Offender Registry, Morris was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in Oakland County Circuit Court in 1989. He is now accused of killing Zhao at the state park before setting her body ablaze.