Mississippi man freed after 11yrs in jail without a trial

Steven Jessie Harris allegedly embarked on a violent spree over a decade ago. Since then, he has been in jail, waiting for a trial date, which never came. He was finally released after doctors found him mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Harris was arrested in October 2005 and charged with the murder of his 72-year-old father, Malichi Randle. Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott said that after Harris fatally shot his father, he walked to a local drive-in restaurant with a rifle and shot at passing cars, according to the Clarion-Ledger.

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Harris then stabbed a student in the parking lot and stole a car, kidnapping the young female passenger. After leading police on a chase down the highway, Harris allegedly got out of the vehicle and shot three officers before being wounded and apprehended.

Harris was indicted in 2006 on 11 different counts, including murder, armed robbery and kidnapping. Since then, he has been incarcerated in the Clay County jail in West Point, Mississippi, without ever receiving a trial.

Carlos Moore, Harris’ attorney, told Fox News that Harris’ imprisonment without a trial violated the Constitution.

“You have a constitutional right to speedy trial, there shouldn’t be any cruel or unusual punishment,” Moore said. “It’s very cruel and unusual to lock somebody up and throw away the key for 11 years without a trial. You have a fourth amendment right to no unreasonable searches and seizures. There were several constitutional rights that were violated.”

In 2007, Harris was admitted to a state hospital where he was evaluated by doctors who found he was exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia. The next year, doctors concluded that Harris was not sufficiently mentally competent to waive his constitutional rights or to stand trial.

“Mr. Harris appears to exhibit substantial deficits in his capacity to appreciate the seriousness of his legal situation, to consult with defense counsel in a reasonable manner, to make rational legal decisions, and to attend to the proceedings in a meaningful way,” doctors wrote of Harris, according to the Clarion-Ledger.

Moore said that his client was transferred to East Mississippi State Hospital last June.

On Tuesday, all of the charges against Harris were dismissed without prejudice. Moore told the Clarion-Ledger that Harris is no longer being held at the state hospital, but remains “voluntarily committed to a state hospital.”

“Today, justice was finally served. After 11 years of a man sitting in jail without a trial, his charges are finally dismissed,” Moore said. “The family is relieved that their loved one has finally received justice; however, they remain disappointed that it took so long for the law to be followed.”

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District attorney Scott Colom, who took office last year, said that local law enforcement is “not happy” with Harris being released.

“He killed his daddy, shot cops, kidnapped somebody and to turn him back loose on the streets, there’s no justice for the victims,” Colom told the Clarion-Ledger. “We could run into him at Walmart. We’re not happy about it at all, but there’s nothing we can do.”

Scott echoed Colom’s statement, telling Fox News that Harris will be “right back on the streets.”

“There’s no justice at all for the victims in this thing. The criminal courts and law enforcement [have] no jurisdiction over him at this point,” Scott said.

Harris’ twin brother, Steven Jeffrey, told the Clarion-Ledger that he plans to take care of his brother and ensure he takes his medication.

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