An 18-year-old Puyallup man is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, and Pierce County sheriff’s detectives are searching for the body of his victim.
Prosecutors contend Michael Jason Scharpf Breer killed Justin Morris on or about July 10, then disposed of his body at an unknown location. Wednesday, Superior Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Breer held for 72 hours, with arraignment to follow Friday.
Though information is still sketchy, Facebook pages of Breer and Morris state that they attended Rogers High School on South Hill. Family members began posting messages about Morris’s disappearance on Monday, asking for help to find him.
Sheriff’s detectives first learned of a possible homicide on Saturday, court records state.
“We got a tip about a dead body and went out and worked it,” said Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer. “We believe we have enough information without the body to put this guy in jail. We have some search warrants and we have some followup witnesses and searching to do. That’s all in the process of happening.”
Court records say Breer came to a friend’s house at about 6 a.m. on July 10 and said he’d killed someone. The friend asked who. Breer pointed to the moped he was riding, which belonged to Morris. The friend asked Breer if he’d killed Morris. Breer said, “Yes,” court documents state.
Breer asked for help. The two rode back to Breer’s place.
Inside, the friend saw blood on the walls, a blood stain on the floor and a body wrapped in a blanket. The face was covered with a garbage bag, but a leg was sticking out, court records state. The friend saw Breer cleaning the blood stain with a carpet-cleaning machine.
Breer wanted the friend to help load the body into his pickup truck. He suggested driving to Greenwater in east Pierce County to dispose of the body.
The friend refused and left, court records state. He called sheriff’s detectives three days later, on July 13 and told the story. Subsequently, detectives recorded a phone conversation between the friend and Breer. The friend asked Breer what happened. Breer reportedly said everything was taken care of, and he told the friend not to talk to police.
Deputies arrested Breer. He admitted “something” happened at his house between him and Morris. Asked for details, he said Morris came at him with a knife, but nothing more.
Deputies searched the house Tuesday and found traces of blood that matched the description the friend gave; they also found evidence of “great efforts” to clean it, court records state.
Based on the patterns of blood stains, detectives guessed that Morris was struck several times on a couch, then slid down to a carpet while more blows fell on his head.
Deputies searched Breer’s truck and found a shovel, fragments of ferns and a carpet-cleaning machine. They interviewed Breer’s mother, who said Morris had been staying at the house temporarily, and that she spent the night of the murder elsewhere.
Deputy prosecutor Steve Penner said investigators expect to have more information Friday, when Breer will face a formal arraignment. Asked about a possible motive, he said it was too soon to tell, but added that Breer and Morris knew each other.
“They appear to be friends and acquaintances – that seems to the be the relationship,” he said. “There’s a group of friends here who all know each other.”
While investigators hope to find Morris’s body, Penner said prosecutors might have enough to file charges without it.
“We believe we have enough information to confirm that the victim was in fact murdered,” he said. “The fact that the remains may be concealed from law enforcement wouldn’t prevent the prosecution. It would present a challenge to the prosecution, but I think it’s one we would be able to overcome.”
Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486