Philadelphia police seek second opinion in transsexual's death

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com January 09 2003 1:00 AM ET

The Philadelphia medical examiner's office has ruled that a 47-year-old transgendered woman found dead on a downtown street corner was the victim of homicide, but police say they are skeptical.

Police captain Charles Bloom said Tuesday that he wants a second autopsy report before concluding whether Roberta Morris, also known as Robert Morris, was murdered. Morris, of West Philadelphia, was found December 22 lying on a street corner with a fatal head injury. Bloom said that shortly before Morris was found dead, a police officer found her asleep outside a downtown bar and offered her a ride home but that she jumped out of the squad car just a few blocks later.

Authorities are continuing to search for possible witnesses who saw Morris after she left the squad car, Bloom said.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, assistant medical examiner Edwin Lieberman stated in his death report last week that Morris died of an "assault by other(s)."

Bloom said Tuesday that his office will decide whether to classify the death as a homicide or an accident after the second report is completed.