A Baltimore jury convicted two young men and acquitted another of murder in the death of former City Councilman Kenneth N. Harris Sr., who was killed two years ago after he and a woman stopped by a jazz club to borrow a corkscrew as the facility was about to be robbed. Jerome Williams, 17, and Charles McGaney, 22, were each found guilty on 28 counts, including felony first-degree murder, assault, handgun, and robbery charges. Gary Collins, 22, was acquitted of murder but found guilty on all of the other charges.Attorneys for the defendants, who face decades in prison, said they plan to file appeals. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 19. "We are pleased with the verdict," said Harris' wife, Annette, standing with her children. "Although two of the defendants were considered to be guilty in Kenneth's murder, we still feel that justice was served. "This will not bring him back. That's the pain we will have to live with for the rest of our lives," she said. But the verdict sends a "message to the criminals of Baltimore City that they cannot [commit murder] and walk away free." The verdict, reached after a lengthy trial and a near-deadlock, closes the door on a painful case for many in the city. Harris was well-known in the community, and his death stunned residents and politicians, including Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy, who called him a friend. "This was indeed a very sad time for all of us," she said outside the courthouse, having earlier watched the verdicts being read. It was a rare recent appearance for Jessamy, and likely one of her last times in court as the city's chief prosecutor, she acknowledged. Jessamy lost the Democratic primary last month to Gregg Bernstein.
Baltimore Sun/JED KIRSCHBAUM