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Judge dismisses murder charge against man accused of shooting Knoxville mom

A judge dropped the charge against Vincent Morrison after a witness failed to show up in court and the defense filed a motion for failure to prosecute.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A judge on Monday dismissed a second-degree murder charge facing a man who was accused of shooting and killing a Knoxville mom in August.

According to Sean McDermott with Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen's office, a judge agreed to dismiss the murder charge facing 31-year-old Vincent Morrison after a witness failed to show up in court and the defense filed a motion for failure to prosecute.

"It is frustrating when we can’t get witnesses to come into court and testify. However it’s also from a human level, understandable," said Knox Co. District Attorney General Charme Allen.

She declined to speak directly about the Morrison case, but said some witnesses in violent crime cases are scared to testify.

"You’ve seen that person commit a violent act so you're fearful, knowing that that’s a violent person and perhaps you could be the recipient of some of the violence from that person," she said. 

Morrison had been accused of shooting and killing 43-year-old Aisha Cates on August 22, 2021. According to the original arrest report, a witness said Morrison and Cates had gotten into a fight and saw Morrison grab Cates from a car. The witness claimed they tried to intervene before Cates pulled away from them -- saying the later heard a gunshot and saw Cates falling and Morrison running away. The witness later identified Morrison in a lineup, saying they knew him. 

Morrison remains in custody and is still facing other charges related to separate incidents that happened before the shooting, which judges have bound over to a grand jury.

Morrison is facing especially aggravated robbery, which was upgraded from aggravated robbery Monday. He is also facing aggravated domestic assault, which a different judge bound over to a grand jury in October.

According to law enforcement, on March 5, 2021 Morrison shot at another woman inside a vehicle, his fiancé at the time, after the two got into an argument. The woman said Morrison then got into a vehicle and hit her vehicle before she managed to flee. Officers said the woman was not injured, and investigators found bullet casings in the parking lot at Summercrest Apartments in North Knoxville where the incident happened.

On July 18, 2021, authorities said Morrison was involved in a robbery at 2216 Keener Avenue. Authorities said he pulled out a gun and robbed a man, taking roughly $1,000 in cash, a gold ring, gold chain, and a gold watch before running. The victim said they later saw Morrison on the news when he was wanted on suspicions of shooting Cates and was able to identify him as the man who robbed him.

Credit: Courtesy of the family
Aisha Cates

Cates family said she was a mother, sister, aunt and daughter who had a big smile and a lot of love for just about anyone.

"Aisha...Aisha...she is the most loving, kind-heartedness kid. She would give you the shirt off of her back," Sawyer said.

As her family mourns and remembers the joy Cates brought to their lives, they are pleading for solutions to end the violence.

"She didn't deserve it. She honestly didn't deserve any of this," Martin said. "I just hope God can get us all through this."