Teen set for trial in attempted murder case

Truth file photo

GOSHEN — An Elkhart teen accused of attempted murder is scheduled to stand trial on April 1.

Byron Harris Jr., 16, was charged with the Level 1 felony after he allegedly shot another juvenile in the leg twice on the playground at River Run Apartments on June 11. The shooting happened between Harris’ alleged escape from custody April 27 and his arrest July 6.

He also faces charges including escape from detention, a Level 5 felony, possession of methamphetamine, a Level 6 felony, and misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. He was waived to adult court following a hearing in August.

The victim of the shooting, who required surgery to put his shattered femur back together, identified Harris as his attacker and said he had accused him of taking a game before threatening him and firing about four shots. Several other people were on the playground at the time.

In waiving Harris to adult court, the juvenile magistrate remarked on his escalating pattern of violence, going back to an armed robbery when he was 9. He was also arrested with a gun in South Bend, but not charged, and has admitted to dangerous possession of a firearm and pointing a firearm at another person, Magistrate Deborah Domine said.

Harris’ charges together carry a maximum potential sentence of close to 50 years.

He was in court Thursday to discuss his upcoming jury trial. Attorneys indicated his case is the most likely to proceed on April 1 and that they were prepared.

Elkhart County Deputy Prosecutor Susan Snyder had filed motions to compel Harris’ lawyer to turn over or disclose certain evidence, but she told the judge that they had worked out the issues between them. She said Harris does not plan to argue that he acted in self-defense or to present an alibi, so the burden of proof will remain on the state.

Circuit Court Judge Michael Christofeno reminded the attorneys to follow the law and the procedures for trial.

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