Miles Bryant trial: Susana Morales' mom cries on the stand during testimony

Miles Bryant, 23, a former Doraville police officer, is currently on trial in Gwinnett County, accused of murdering 16-year-old Susana Morales in 2022. After two days of jury selection, lawyers gave their opening statements on Wednesday morning.

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Susana Morales (Gwinnett County Police Department)

The proceedings began at around 10:30 a.m. Earlier this week, Bryant rejected a plea deal before the jury selection process began. The jury will now decide whether the former officer is guilty of the charges against him, which include malice murder, felony murder, kidnapping, criminal attempt to commit rape, and false report of a crime.

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At the time of Morales' death, Bryant was working as a courtesy officer at the Gwinnett apartment complex Morales visited the night she went missing. Prosecutors allege that she was murdered that same night. However, her body wasn't found until several months later. 

During opening statements, Special Prosecutor Brandon Delfont addressed the jury, emphasizing Bryant's betrayal of his oath to serve and protect. Delfont stated, "He took an oath to uphold all of the laws. He is one of the people that we should trust to enforce the law. Somebody we should hold to a higher standard because of his role in enforcing the law. But he didn't do any of those things. Instead, he abused the law and he used his badge and he used his position to satisfy his own sexual desires."


Bryant's defense attorney, during her opening statement, maintained her client's innocence, arguing that the prosecution's case is based solely on circumstantial evidence. She indicated that Bryant would take the stand in his own defense during the trial.

Susana Morales' mom called to the stand

Susana Morales' mother, Maria Bran, was the first witness called by the prosecution on Wednesday.

Speaking through a translator, Maria Bran grew emotional as she recounted being unable to reach her daughter the night she was killed.

"I called and called several times. She did not answer," Bran testified.

"Did you ever hear back from Susana?" Gwinnett County Special Prosecutor Brandon Delfunt asked.

"No, never again," Bran replied.