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Harris Murder Trial

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Westley Devon Harris has been convicted of capital murder in the shooting deaths of six members of his teenage girlfriend's family at their south Alabama farm.

The jury returned the verdict Tuesday.

Twenty-five-year-old Harris could be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole for the daylong slaughter. The victims were his girlfriend's grandmother, parents and three teenage brothers, killed on August 26, 2002. The crime marked the worst shooting homicide in recent Alabama history.

The sentencing phase begins Wednesday.

The first trial ended with a mistrial because of juror tampering.

Harris' former girlfriend, Janice Ball, says she's happy Harris was convicted. She says, quote, "I knew he was guilty the whole time."

But Harris' mother says she's still hopeful for an appeal. Ida Mae Harris says, "I knew Janice had something to do with it. I'll say it until the day I die."

Assistant Attorney General Don Valeska says the conviction is vindication for prosecutors and investigators. They had been criticized for not bringing a stronger case.

But a relative of the victims says she still has no closure because of what she viewed as a sloppy investigation.


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