Richard Morriston was a career con artist who manipulated, abused, and killed multiple people.
Morriston was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, and eventually enrolled in the University of Utah Law school. He dropped out in 1994 after he killed his girlfriend Beth Fazekas. He then moved to Chicago, Illinois, and eventually moved in with a woman who he was physically abusive with. When she reported him, he intimidated her into dropping the charges and then moved to Denver, Colorado. When he was arrested for fraud in 1998, Morriston pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and moved to New York.
He started using fake names to get a real estate license and met and charmed Susan Kimball into letting him move in with her. Morriston then used Kimball's corporate accounts and insider information to make stock trades. When Kimball confronted him about it, Morriston beat her and was arrested for it, but was released when Kimball refused to press charges out of fear. Morriston got another real estate license under a new name, and through this work, he met a woman named Gail Churchill, who was looking for a new apartment after her divorce. After Morriston sold her a house, the two of them started dating over the next couple of months. After Morriston gave her a necklace belonging to Fazekas, Churchill tracked the jewelry to its original owner and discovered Morriston's real identity.
Morriston eventually discovered her actions and plotted to kill her. Based on Churchill's schedule, he set up an appointment to show a house called the Carrington House, which he was selling, after the time he planned to kill her in order to establish an alibi. Morriston then broke into a jewelry store to kill Churchill and make it look like a robbery. However, only the owners were there, so he killed them and waited for her, forcing him to abandon his alibi. About two hours later, Churchill arrived with her daughter. Morriston killed them both, took the surveillance tapes, along with jewelry worth $70,000, and fled the scene. He went to the Carrington House and hid a gym bag carrying the jewelry and the gun he used in a locked electrical room.
Detectives Briscoe and Green interview Morriston when the store's assistant manager finds the bodies. He tells them that he was showing a house at the time of the murders, and in the process realizes the police knew Churchill was targeted. Morriston casts slight suspicion on Churchill's ex-husband David but doesn't incriminate him in order to divert the detectives away from himself. After the police discover his real name and past history a few weeks after the murders, the police call his office to interview him again. His secretary, Annette Perry, gives him the message and Morriston rushes back to his apartment to destroy the store's surveillance tapes. The detectives get their first and try to block him from entering his apartment before they get a warrant. Morriston moves around them, but is unable to open his door as Green shoved a toothpick into the lock. When the warrant comes, they break his door down and find the surveillance tapes.
Morriston is arrested for four counts of second-degree murder and remanded to custody pending trial. EADA McCoy and ADA Carmichael visit him with his attorney present and try to work out a deal, but Morriston continues to profess his innocence. After his attorney manages to suppress the tapes, the police find the gun and stolen jewelry, so Morriston files a motion to represent himself. In Judge Walter Bradley's chambers, Bradley advises against this but Morriston stands by his decision. Bradley is swayed despite McCoy's objections and allows it; McCoy successfully insists that Morriston keep his current attorney as his legal adviser. Morriston then files motions for bail and to suppress the necklace and tapes. The judge sets Morriston's bail at $1,000,000, but allows both the necklace and Morriston's fraud conviction admissible at trial.
During the trial, Morriston subtly manipulates the jury forewoman, Carol Gibbons, by taking every chance to get her to look at him, addressing her, and even touching her hand. McCoy notices this and has the police track his movements. He then tries to get the juror disqualified but fails. After McCoy rests, Morriston calls a woman named Perry to the stand to give him an false alibi after he seduced her over the last few weeks. McCoy tries to disqualify her, but she is allowed to testify and Morriston gets the police to stop following him. He eventually tracks Gibbons down, has dinner with him, and seduces her into declaring him not guilty. When he takes the stand, he continues to charm Gibbons and lies on the stand about his killings. McCoy does his best to discredit Morriston's testimony, but a mistrial is declared due to his machinations. Morriston then breaks up with Gibbons two days after the trial and Gibbons subsequently explains everything to the DA's office. Morriston discovers this, sneaks into her apartment, and attempts to kill her, but Gibbons fights back and fatally stabs him in the neck in self-defense. (L&O: "Hubris")
- October 3, 1994, Salt Lake City, Utah: Beth Fazekas (killed by unknown causes)
- 1994-1998, Chicago, Illinois: Unnamed woman (assaulted)
- 1998-2000, New York City, New York: Susan Kimball (assaulted)
- November 11, 2000, New York City, New York: The jewelry store massacre (all were bound, gagged, and shot with a pistol):
- Adam and Corinne Bennett
- Gail and Ellie Churchill
- January 15, 2001, New York City, New York: Carol Gibbons (attempted to strangle)