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GREENVILLE, SC – Sheriff Hobart Lewis is grateful to announce an arrest has been made in the cold case homicide of Cecil “Sandy” Morris, from 2015. On Friday, November 20th , 45 year-old, Jason “Travis” Merrill was arrested by the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office, the Brevard Police Departments and North Carolina SBI, on charges of Murder, Arson, and Possession of a Weapon during a Violent Crime and multiple fraud-related charges.
The case has been unsolved since October 30, 2015 when deputies responded to a fire during late afternoon, at 20 Michael Drive, in Greenville. Upon arrival, the body of Sandy Morris was located in the basement of the residence. He was found to have sustained at least one gunshot wound. Investigators determined that Morris’ body had already begun decomposing prior to the fire and his death was estimated to have occurred sometime in mid to late October. After the initial investigation ensued, it went cold due to lack of available forensic evidence.
In fall of this year, investigators began reexamining the case and looked into phone records, forensic evidence and uncovered surveillance footage that led them to Morris’ roommate, Travis Merrill. While the exact motive of the killing is still unclear, investigators can confirm that the pair were roommates.
Investigators believe that after Morris was shot and killed, Merrill flew to California and fraudulently used Morris’ credit cards in the amount of thousands of dollars. After returning back to Greenville, investigators believe Merrill went back to their residence on October 30th and set it on fire before fleeing to a relative’s house in Brevard, NC, where the victim’s vehicle was ultimately located.
During the course of our cold case investigation, we were able to substantiate enough evidence to implicate Merrill in the murder of Sandy Morris. Merrill has been charged with Murder, Possession of a Weapon during a Violent Crime, Arson, Financial I.D. Fraud, Financial Transaction Card Fraud and 2nd degree Computer Crimes
He is currently awaiting extradition from North Carolina.