Stab victim's kin: Was he set up?

Posted: August 01, 2011

ALTHOUGH POLICE preliminarily have labeled Friday's fatal stabbing of Drexel student Evan Morris a self-defense killing, an attorney for his family speculated yesterday that Morris' death may have been a setup.

"We believe that there is much more involved with this," said lawyer Willie Nattiel Jr. "We don't like that he was being portrayed as this crazed burglar."

Police said Morris, 22, kicked down the door to his ex-girlfriend's apartment at Race Street near 34th about 5 a.m. Friday and was stabbed repeatedly by her new boyfriend, whom he supposedly had gone there to fight.

But Nattiel said that according to Morris' parents, who visited the apartment after his death, Morris was let into the apartment willingly and was stabbed only once.

"Evan is not some kid who is drinking and drugging and who'd just break into an apartment to start some fight with some ex-girlfriend's boyfriend," Nattiel said. "You have to remember, there were only three witnesses, and one is dead."

Nattiel speculated that the incident may have been a "setup" by Morris' ex and her new beau, but he declined to say why they may have wanted to harm him.

Police have not identified the man who allegedly stabbed Morris, and the Daily News is withholding his name because he has not been charged with a crime. Police questioned and released him.

Nattiel called the man, a soccer player from Florida who does not attend Drexel, a "pampered athlete drifter."

Nattiel said he represented Morris when he was a victim of a home invasion a few years ago. Nattiel said Morris and his roommates had been tied up and robbed at gunpoint by men who thought the occupants were drug dealers.

Nattiel said he had to defend Morris against police who went from treating him as a victim to treating him as a possible drug dealer.

He said Morris had never dealt drugs and had never been charged in the incident. The robbers, he said, were never caught.

Nattiel said he has urged the District Attorney's Office to conduct a thorough probe.

"If it happened the way police allege it happened, that's fine," he said. "But the parents don't believe that, and we just want to make sure there's a full investigation before it's written off."

Nattiel said Morris' parents wanted to get through their son's funeral before speaking publicly about the case.

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