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Defense Says Police Charged Wrong Man in Murder Case

November 27, 2012

The murder trial of Joseph Harris picked up with defense attorneys suggesting investigators screwed up and charged the wrong man.

The 22-year-old is currently serving time on drug charges and is facing first degree murder in the death of Anthony Lorenzo Johnson.

In Albemarle County General District Court on Tuesday, investigators involved in the case admitted an informant told them another man had confessed to shooting Johnson near Darden Towe Park in 2005.
Defense attorney Andre Hakes suggested police did not do enough to follow up with that lead.

On Monday, prosecutors called three current inmates to the stand to testify Harris told them he shot and killed Johnson. A childhood friend of Harris, Levi Finney, broke down in tears during his testimony. He said Harris was "like a brother" but said Harris told him of the shooting, "I didn't mean to do it, I just wanted to scare him." Finney is currently serving a 20-year sentence on drug and gun charges and said he hoped his sentence would be reduced if he testified against his former friend.

The trial is expected to wrap up on Friday.

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