Why Apple AirTag killer was only convicted of manslaughter in death of cheating boyfriend


Gaylyn Morris, Andre Smith

Gaylyn Morris (Marion County jail mugshot), Andre Smith (family photo)

A woman who used an Apple AirTag to track her cheating boyfriend to a bar and then repeatedly ran him over in a parking lot after confronting him was found guilty at the end of her murder trial of voluntary manslaughter. Indiana law explains why 27-year-old Gaylyn Morris was only convicted of the lesser included charge.

While Indiana’s murder statute criminalizes “knowingly or intentionally kill[ing] another human being,” which prosecutors maintained that Morris did when she tracked 26-year-old Andre Smith to a bar, confronted Smith and the woman he was with, and then ran Smith over outside the Marion County establishment when he was leaving.

Indiana’s homicide statute doesn’t draw a distraction between first-degree murder and second-degree murder, unlike numerous other states. However, voluntary manslaughter, the next most serious charge after murder, and a level 2 felony, includes a key exception: “A person who knowingly or intentionally” kills another human being “while acting under sudden heat commits voluntary manslaughter.”

“The existence of sudden heat is a mitigating factor that reduces what otherwise would be murder […] to voluntary manslaughter,” the statute says.

“Sudden heat,” as Law&Crime has explained in the context of another criminal case, occurs when “provoked by anger, rage, resentment, or terror, to a degree sufficient to obscure the reason of an ordinary person, prevent deliberation and premeditation, and render the defendant incapable of cool reflection.”

One Indianapolis-based law firm noted that a “classic example” of voluntary manslaughter in the Hoosier State is “when a spouse walks in on their spouse cheating on them and immediately in the heat of the moment kills the cheating spouse.”

Prosecutors said at trial that on June 2, 2022, in the hours before Smith’s death, Morris “had worked herself up into a tizzy and she needed to confront him and the woman she knew he was with,” tracking Smith “by hiding an AirTag in the back seat of his car.”

According to a probable cause affidavit, Morris tracked Smith to Tilly’s Pub & Grill in Castleton, where she was caught on video inside the bar throwing punches at another woman, T.N., as described in court documents.

Witness Abby Winters, identified in the affidavit by her initials, took the stand and told jurors what she saw in the parking lot after midnight on June 3, 2022.

“There was a hitting of the gas and I did see [Smith] go down, and heard what felt like a speed bump and some crunching,” Winters said in court, according to WTHR. “And then it went once, and then backed up again, and then forward again.”

Abby Winters testifies against Gaylyn Morris in Marion County

Abby Winters tearfully testifies against Gaylyn Morris in Marion County (WTHR screengrab)

According to the affidavit, Winters, while out for a karaoke night with friends, said she saw that Morris was kicked out of the pub following the initial fight and disturbance; Smith and T.N. also went outside after picking up food.

Winters said she then saw Morris “hit the gas” and run over Smith twice with her blue Impala a short time later:

A.W. got to her car and looked over to her right and saw Smith standing there, and then he was not standing. A.W. stated that Gaylyn Morris was driving slow and purposeful, but once she got to Andre Smith, she hit the gas, and Smith fell over and was on the ground. A.W. saw her back up over him and then go back over to him again. She could hear the crunching sound and saw the car going up as if going over a hump. She remembers it being eerily quiet, she thought to herself is he really under the car and if he was still alive he would be screaming, but there was nothing from him, Gaylyn Morris or T.N. who was standing between the vehicles. A.W. thinks she was stunned, so she walked back inside the bar and just stood there, processing what she had just seen. A.W. stated that she just needed to go home, so she stepped outside and saw Gaylyn Morris over by where A.W.’s car was parked. Morris had gotten out of her car and was pacing around the parking lot.

Smith died of traumatic asphyxia.

J.Q., another witness in the affidavit, recalled Morris saying “I’m going to beat her,” just before fists started flying inside the bar. Morris also revealed how she tracked Smith to the bar, the witness said.

“J.Q. stated that Morris picked up an empty beer bottle from a table. J.Q. said Morris stated she had air-tagged and GPS followed Andre Smith, and that he had been cheating on her. J.Q. stated that Morris went over to Smith and T.N. and swung at T.N. with the beer bottle, but Smith blocked it and grabbed Morris,” the affidavit said.

Despite the allegations, Morris’ defense attorney Max Wiley reportedly said jurors would see his client was “not guilty of murder.” Wiley turned out to be right about that — and he focused on “sudden heat” during closing arguments.

“When she goes to the bar, it’s to confront her boyfriend” and the other woman she thinks is “cheating on her with her boyfriend, whose bills she’s paying, whose rent she’s paying, who’s treating her like a dog,” Wiley reportedly said. “And she’s going there to confront him, not to kill anybody. If she was going to kill, why didn’t she bring a gun?”

Marion County jurors reached their verdict last Thursday, court records show. Morris’ sentencing hearing is currently set for 10 a.m. on Sept. 21.

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