Last year, Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner (D.) made the controversial decision to free a murderer serving a life sentence. On Friday, that man turned himself in to the police and is expected to be charged in connection with a second murder.
Police announced on Friday that 32-year-old Jahmir Harris was in custody following the fatal September shooting of Charles Gossett. Security footage shows Harris acting as a getaway driver approaching the victim and two gunmen shooting Gossett in the back of the head.
Harris was convicted in 2012 of shooting 45-year-old Louis Porter to death and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. But in 2021, Krasner’s office vacated Harris’s sentence, claiming that his "constitutional rights had been violated at the time of his prosecution."
Common Pleas Court judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi slammed the move, saying she did not believe Harris had been proven innocent and questioning how Krasner "felt confident in releasing a murder suspect from prison when [his office] said one page earlier that the criminal investigation in this matter was still ongoing."
News of Harris’s repeat offense could spell trouble for Krasner, who has come under fire for his soft-on-crime policies. The Pennsylvania House’s Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order is weighing impeachment articles for Krasner, which the self-described progressive prosecutor has dismissed as a "political stunt." Krasner’s campaign received nearly $1.7 million from the left-wing megadonor George Soros’s Justice and Public Safety PAC in 2017.
Porter’s brother, Walter, recognized Harris in surveillance footage showing Gossett’s murder and notified police.
"I’m like, ‘Wow, this dude again,’" he told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It’s the same exact pattern." The other shooters have not been identified.
Harris was convicted of murdering Porter following a disagreement over fake Percocet pills. An eyewitness identified Harris at the scene of the shooting. Porter’s five-year-old son was also present in the backseat of a parked car.
Krasner defended Harris’s exoneration last week, saying "wrongful convictions" undermine public trust in the justice system. His office maintains Harris’s "constitutional rights had been violated" in the 2012 case since information on another suspect was not submitted to defense attorneys.
Krasner’s Conviction Integrity Unit, which handles cases like Harris’s, has exonerated nearly 30 convicts during his tenure. Prosecutors for the office say Harris is the first that has gone on to kill.
But the Porter family told the Inquirer it never doubted Harris’s conviction. Walter Porter said Gossett’s murder "reopens the wounds" of their family’s grief over the killing.
"I want to see justice," Porter said. "Not only for my family. But I really want to see justice for this other family that’s out there suffering."