Pembroke Police Chief Mark Crowe announced Tuesday that the Devon Morris case has been ruled a homicide, based on the autopsy.
Morris, 69, died Friday while under medical care in Vidalia. He was hospitalized since being attacked inside his Main Street home on June 8.
Crowe said although the report recognizes Morris as having pneumonia, the cause of death includes "blunt force trauma to the head." He said the PPD will now turn to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for assistance in continuing the investigation.
Crowe said three people entered and ransacked Morris’ home in the early morning hours of June 8 after breaking out the back window.
Morris reportedly was asleep when he was attacked and woke to find he was being beaten with objects lying around his bedroom, including a hammer and a fan.
No arrests have been made to date, but Morris implicated Bulloch County resident Donna Hodges as one of his attackers while at the scene.
Crowe said Hodges remains the primary suspect but has no solid leads on additional suspects.
Just days prior to Morris’ death, Chief Crowe announced he would be seeking an indictment rather than an arrest warrant against Hodges because he was unable to conduct a coherent interview with Morris due to the poor condition he was in.
"Mark (Chief Crowe) has worked really hard on this case," Pembroke Mayor Judy Cook said. "He visited Devon every week, but he never was in any shape to go on record."
According to authorities, Morris was initially brought to the intensive care unit of Memorial Hospital, but was taken to Candler when it was determined he needed to be on long term ventilation. Morris was transported to Community Hospice in Vidalia on Thursday of last week, but died Friday.
Morris’ brother, Lenwood Morris of Claxton, said the family is very upset over the manner in which they lost Devon and is hopeful that justice will be served.
Mayor Judy Cook said Morris, a longtime resident of Pembroke and former Marine, was a friend to her and many others throughout the city. She met Morris through his wife, who went to the same beauty parlor as her, and the two became instant friends.
"What a gentle person Devon was," Cook said. "This is just a senseless tragedy."
Morris reportedly lived alone at his home on Main Street as his wife passed away several years ago, but Cook said he "got around town and was such a good and kind man. I feel fortunate for having known him. He was all the time helping people. I will miss him dearly."
Cook reflected on Morris’ "dry sense of humor" and how he would supply her with the latest state quarter for her coin collection "every time a new one would come out. I treasure those coins now."
This is the second homicide within the small town within the last nine months. No arrests have been made yet on the alleged murder of Pembroke resident James Young, who was found dead at his home on Rogers Road Nov. 10.
Cook said she knew Young as well, who "was a good man also. Neither Devon nor Mr. Young harmed anybody, and it’s just absolutely shocking that we have two homicide cases in this small community."
A memorial service for Morris is scheduled for tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Flanders Morrison Funeral Home in Pembroke.