Bayzle Morgan’s head, neck and face are marked by racist tattoos. He also has a teardrop tattoo under his eye, which typically signifies that the person has killed someone, and a swastika in a clover under his other eye. But jurors saw none of that when he appeared in court this week because he had concealer covering them.
The act wasn’t a desperate plot from a defense attorney aiming to get his client off, but rather a directive handed down by District Judge Richard Scotti. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, members of the jury said they wouldn’t be capable of deciding the case fair and impartially because of the way that Morgan looked. One juror was immediately dismissed after saying that she read about Morgan’s makeup in the local news.
Each day a professional cosmetologist meets Morgan prior to the jury being brought into the courtroom and applies his makeup. It is then removed before he returns to the county jail.
Morgan is being charged with robbery after he allegedly stole a man’s motorcycle at gunpoint. He also faces the death penalty in a different case he is accused of killing a 75-year-old woman days before the robbery. They say he broke into her home and hit her over the head with his gun so hard that the trigger guard broke on the weapon. He then allegedly shot her in the back of the head.
Jurors are instructed to take only the facts of the case into account when ruling and disregard the appearance of the defendant, but often times defendants who can’t afford more than a public defender don’t have the means to have a makeup artist cover their flaws or change their race before the jury sees them.