WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | News, Weather & Sports

Murder Trial Delayed After Lawyers Clash Over Evidence

October 16, 2012

Jurors sitting in the courtroom of the Albemarle County Circuit Court heard one day of testimony in the murder trial of 24-year-old Joseph Harris. But on the second day of the trial, the judge told everyone to go home. The trial, delayed for more than a month.

"It's not unheard of, but it's very, very unusual to have a delay this long after a jury has already been seated and already heard opening statements for attorneys," said Scott Goodman, a Charlottesville lawyer.

The reason for the delay boils down to a dispute over evidence. Harris is facing murder charges in the death of Anthony Lorenzo Johnson, who was found dead near Darden Towe Park six years ago. The Commonwealth's Attorney, Elliott Casey, plans to use a taped conversation between a prison informant and Harris as evidence.

The judge agreed to allow the tape entered as evidence in the trial, back stepping a previous decision to bar it. The defense team, led by Andre Hakes, was caught off guard, and asked for more time to prepare. In the meantime, Johnson's family is left waiting for closure.

"To come to court, anticipating a resolution and then finding out there is going to be a month delay is very difficult for the family," said Goodman. "I know the Commonwealth's lawyers met with the family to try to console them and explain to them that they are doing the best they can."

The delay is also tough on jurors, who must go about their business for the next month before hearing the rest of the case. The judge also ordering them to avoid reading articles or watching news segments related to the case. "They have a good idea of what the case is about, they are just not supposed to think about it for a month, which is difficult," said Goodman.

Harris is already behind bars, serving a 14-year sentence on drug charges. He is facing two life sentences for Harris' murder. The murder trial is scheduled to pick back up on November 26.


The comments sections of Newsplex.com are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. E-mail is required, but will not be displayed with comment.

  • Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. We will not post comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.
  • We will not post comments that use hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our website.
  • Comments should not attack other readers or people featured in our stories personally. Any accusations should be backed up with facts.
  • Any comment we post will be posted in its entirety. We do not edit any comment that we post.
     
  • Comments should contribute to the discussion. We will not post comments that don't advance the discussion. Flaming and/or trolling will not be tolerated.
     
  • Comments should not attack other posters. Let's keep the focus on the content of the story.

    As a host Newsplex.com welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However this is a site that we host. We have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.

    If you have any ideas to improve the conversation or this section let us know. Send an e-mail to webmaster@newsplex.com.

 

powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 174475211