In a headline-grabbing case, 22-year-old Sheena Morris was found hanged in a Florida hotel room on New Year's Day 2009, just hours after reports of an altercation between Sheena and her fiancé, Joe, now 48. Her death was ruled a suicide, but Sheena's parents refuse to believe that their daughter would take her own life — they feel she was murdered, and that Joe may be responsible. In an effort to clear his name, Joe comes face to face with Sheena's mother and father, Kelly and David, on Dr. Phil's stage for the first time in three years. What does Joe say happened on the night Sheena was last seen alive? And, how does his story differ from the one Kelly and David say they've pieced together? Listen to 911 calls from that night, including one from Sheena herself. Tune in and decide for yourself: Is there more to this story than Joe is revealing?
Suicide or Homicide?
“My relationship with Sheena was wonderful in the beginning,” Joe says, adding that eight months into their relationship, Sheena struggled to accept his three kids from a previous marriage. “Sheena would say horrible things about my kids … ‘I wish they weren’t here. I hate your * kids,’” Joe says. Still, he says, the issue wasn't a deal-breaker. “I always felt that I could make it work.”
“She always felt like the kids hated her,” Sheena’s mother, Kelly, says. She says Joe would call her and discuss the arguments he was having with Sheena. “It really got to a point where Sheena got mad at me for being involved in their relationship.”
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Sheena's father, David, says Joe would try to get him involved as a middle man in his fights with Sheena. “He was confiding in me for information about how to handle an argument between him and my daughter,” he explains. “I just always thought it was odd.”
Joe says that he and Sheena went to a resort town in Florida to celebrate the 2009 New Year, and that on the night he last saw Sheena alive, they were arguing because he called his son, which angered Sheena. Joe says he left Sheena at the hotel and went home for the night. Hours later, Sheena was found hanged in the shower of their hotel room. Her death was ruled a suicide, but Kelly and David say they think their daughter was murdered — and that Joe may have had something to do with it.
Joe explains what he says happened in the hours before Sheena was found dead. Plus, hear the 911 calls from that night.
Kelly, David and Joe describe their reactions when they found out about Sheena’s death.
Joe says he wasn’t the last person to see Sheena alive. Whom does he say actually saw her last?
Dr. Phil reviews the timeline of events leading up to Sheena’s death. Plus, hear Sheena's 911 call.
“I absolutely do not believe that Sheena committed suicide,” says Sheena’s friend, Kelly H. “I do believe that Joe played some role in Sheena’s death.” Kelly H. says he first met Joe in September 2007, and that he “seemed to be a nice guy.” But he recalls an incident from the past: When Sheena mentioned to Joe that her ex-boyfriend, Sal, had recently called her, Joe got very upset and turned the car around. "He said, ‘That was it. We’re not going out tonight,’” Kelly H. recalls. He says Joe proceeded to scream at Sal over the phone and threatened to meet up with him later that night and fight him. “Eventually, the [verbal] fight got so heated that he pulled a gun out of the glove box.”
How does Joe explain the incident with the gun? Plus, hear from Kelly H. and Sal about what they say happened that night.
Kelly explains why she contacted Joe's current girlfriend. “I am trying to find out who murdered my daughter.”
Joe says that he believed Sheena was suicidal in the days leading up to her death — so why did he leave her alone in a hotel room after their argument on New Year's Eve? And, Joe takes a polygraph test. Don't miss the results in Part 2 of this series!