Albemarle judge acquits Joseph Harris of all charges - The Daily Progress: News

weather
Twitter Facebook RSS Mobile Email
Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Albemarle judge acquits Joseph Harris of all charges

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 7:01 pm

There was hardly a dry eye in the courtroom Wednesday evening when an Albemarle County jury acquitted Joseph Michael Harris of all charges, including first-degree murder.

Prosecuting attorneys argued that Harris, 24, motivated by drugs and money, shot Anthony Lorenzo “Bunny” Johnson to death in February 2005. But, after more than four hours of deliberation, the all-white jury acquitted Harris of first-degree murder, felony murder, robbery and two firearms charges.

“I feel sorry for the family. My condolences go out to them,” said Alvin Harris, Joseph Harris’ father. “I hope they find the person that really did it,” he said.

Joseph Harris was visibly moved by the verdict. After the jury was released, he quietly cried and hugged his defense counsel, Andre Hakes and Bruce R. Wil-liamson Jr.

Commonwealth’s attorneys Jon Zug and Elliott J. Casey built their case around the testimony of several jailhouse informants, but Hakes questioned the motive of their testimony.

“He told me that, ‘I killed him. I didn’t mean to. I tried to scare him,’” Levi Finney, Harris’ former best friend, testified Monday.

During cross-examination, Finney admitted that he was arrested after being asked by Harris to hold drugs. Finney has been behind bars ever since serving a sentence for conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and the possession of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime.

Two experienced jailhouse informants also testified against Harris, but their testimony was mudded when one said he read a newspaper article about the crime before going to the police.

One informant was released from prison immediately after agreeing to testify against Harris.

Though he was found not guilty, Harris returned to prison Wednesday night. He is serving a 14-year, two-month sentence for distribution of five or more grams of crack cocaine and possession of a firearm while trafficking drugs, according to court records. He is scheduled to be released in 2019.

Now Accepting New Patients!
Kilby Pediatrics is now accepting new patients! Call 540.829.4900 today to schedule an appointment.
Summer Sales Event
Summer Sales Event at Malloy Ford! Ford Certified Pre-Owned 1.9% for 60 Months APR Financing. Stop by our dealership or visit our website for more details. 
Free In-Home Replacement Window Estimate
Contact us today to schedule your FREE in-home replacement window estimate.
Same Day Service
NO ONE refused, monthly payments, good driver discounts and SAME DAY service!
20% Off Entire Purchase at CSS
Take 20% OFF your entire purchase with this coupon. Expires August 31, 2014. Coupon  must be redeemed at time of purchase.