Man Wins Own Acquittal Three Times; Back Tomorrow

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Jonathan Harris of Philadelphia has defended himself successfully in three consecutive felony trials since June, including a capital murder case, the Associated Press reports. He is an ex-convict who dropped out of high school. “He actually won two jury trials in one week, a feat that I’m not sure any Philadelphia lawyer’s ever done,” said defense lawyer Charles P. Mirarchi III, who had been appointed to assist Harris in three cases.

Jurors last week acquitted Harris, 34, of first-degree murder in a 2001 street slaying. If convicted, he could have faced the death penalty. Harris, 34, isn’t in the clear yet. Jurors deadlocked on several lesser charges, including third-degree murder. Assistant Philadelphia District Attorney Ed Cameron vowed to retry the remaining charges.

Harris, who spent 10 years in prison for a prior shooting, will defend himself in a fourth jury trial starting tomorrow on an unrelated 2001 gun charge.

In early June, a Philadelphia jury took 40 minutes to acquit Harris of a shooting charge. A few days later, he was acquitted of charges that he assaulted two police officers in the courthouse lobby in 2001.

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