Posted: Apr 9, 2011 10:42 PM by Rob Krieger
Updated: Apr 9, 2011 10:42 PM
BATON ROUGE- It took jurors three and a half hours to convict Greg Harris of manslaughter at district court this evening. Harris killed his wife, Chiquita Tate, in her downtown law office more than two years ago.
Though, it was a verdict that drew disappointment from both sides of the courtroom. Several of Harris' family members erupted in outrage accusing the court of a 'fix' and claiming Harris was 'set up.' One man was even hauled away in handcuffs after he flipped over a metal trash can just outside the courtroom.
Still, Harris' attorney, Lewis Unglesby, feels the verdict did not correlate with the facts of the case.
"I don't find that fair honestly, I mean if you think Greg did it then it's murder, if you don't then it's not and that's the problem in Louisiana is that we have these compromise verdicts and I think in problematic cases jurors think they can do something like that," said Unglesby.
Some of Tate's family members shouted cries of victory while leaving the courthouse, though not everyone was pleased Harris escaped a 2nd degree murder conviction.
"I think it should have been second degree murder, but it is what it is, we can't change God's will, at least he's off the street maybe she can rest in peace now, we might can go one step forward," said Danita Tate Joseph, the victim's sister.
Prosecutor Prem Burns felt she did a good job proving guilt, but was disappointed Harris avoided a life sentence.
"They said there was so much evidence, with the DNA, with his being there, they said there was no issue at all as to who the killer was, no issue whatsoever and they felt that he was without remorse," said Burns. "We would have like to have a second degree murder returned, which would have kept him incarcerated for the rest of his life, we feel and still feel that we proved second degree murder."
Burns said jurors may have chosen manslaughter instead, because of his possible steroid use.
"They felt that he was probably in a rage when he killed her," said Burns, "they felt that maybe she had said something to him and that set him off."
Harris faces up to 40 years in prison. He will be sentenced in June.