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Cops put killers' pal to work on case

Morris agrees to call Duran as investigators listen to conversation

By Carla Crowder
Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer

Former Columbine student Chris Morris was repeatedly interrogated, his home and clothes searched, by investigators seeking a possible third gunman.

Morris' alibi checked out, so the cops put him to work.

The beret-wearing Morris, described in pages of police interviews with associates as an angry outcast, agreed to telephone Philip Duran from an FBI office as investigators listened in and recorded the conversation.

Duran was later implicated as the middleman who helped the killers buy a semiautomatic TEC-DC9 pistol used in the killing. He's serving a 41/2-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to providing a handgun to a minor and possession of an illegal sawed off shotgun.

Stuttering and shellshocked four days after the April 20 killings, the men discuss how they had no idea their friends planned to pull off a mass murder.

"I'm still trying to figure out why they did it. You have any idea?" Morris asks.

Duran responds: "I have no clue, dude."

Morris says he "never noticed anything."

Duran says he never saw it coming.

Morris adds, "You know it just pisses me off that they go and do something like this."

Morris is a persistent interviewer, three times maneuvering the conversation back to how Harris and Klebold got their guns.

"Did they get those like when Eric turned 18 did they go out and buy those, the shotguns?" he asks.

Duran responds: "I have no clue, dude."

Morris: "Did they steal 'em, ah man. Because they keep askin' me all this, and I'm like, I have no idea, you know. Tryin' to find these things out."

Duran: "I have no clue, dude."

Morris insists he knows that Harris and Klebold had tried to buy a gun from Duran and one of his friends.

Duran again denies involvement. Both express relief that they weren't involved.

"Didn't do nothin' man. I don't know," Duran says.

He turned himself in to authorities nearly two months later.

Described by numerous students as a close friend of both killers, Morris was known as a leading member of the Trench Coat Mafia, a loose-knit clique of outcast students at Columbine High, according to police reports.

Morris and Duran worked with Harris and Klebold at Blackjack Pizza.

Interviews with more than a dozen associates of Harris and Klebold paint conflicting pictures of the Trench Coat Mafia.

Some students say the group banded together over a shared interest in music and video games, and a need to stand up to the bullying "jocks."

But sometimes they were the bullies.

Student Alexandria Marsh, who told police she was a past member, said people in the group used drugs and had short tempers that led them to get into fights. They also talked frequently about blowing up the school.

Kristen Long, also a student, described the group as "staring you down if they passed you in the hall if you weren't their friend."

Nate Dykeman, another friend of both killers, failed a polygraph test. The polygraph examiner told investigators Dykeman was "deceptive" in answering questions about his involvement with the attack.

Dykeman admitted withholding information. He said he was afraid he'd be arrested for not coming forward earlier. He then provided information about the guns and bombs, but was never implicated in the April 20 shootings.

Interviews with Robyn Anderson, who purchased the other three guns, were also released. Anderson was never charged with a crime.

After she handed them the guns, Anderson wanted to make sure "that they weren't going to shoot someone or something with them."

The killers replied that they were not that stupid.

Contact Carla Crowder at (303) 892-2742 or crowderc@RockyMountainNews.com.

November 22, 2000