Jury declares Desmond Harris not guilty

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The man accused of killing a transgender person in Alexandria back in 2017 has been found not guilty in the Rapides Parish Courthouse on Thursday.

(Source: RPSO)

Desmond Harris was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Jeffery "Jaylow" McGlory, 29, in August 2017. The two were in a relationship, and according to a neighbor, were often fighting.

Harris was facing an automatic life in prison. But the jury on Thursday declared him not guilty.

"I was very pleased with the outcome of the verdict," said Glenn Cortello, Harris' attorney. "I was very concerned as a matter of law I knew the jury would have to find that the crime could not have been committed in self-defense. The prosecution had an uphill battle to show a negative. They had to prove a negative and that can be very hard. In fairness to the prosecution it's a hard thing to do. But, we're overwhelmed with joy and happiness that he is being released on that charge. The jury followed the law and acquitted. We're very pleased with that."

"It is a surprise," said Phillip Terrell, DA. "We felt certain the jury would convict the young man, at least of manslaughter. It was a tough case because these folks were in a relationship and that's the beauty of our system. We're required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt each and every element of the crime and the jury did not agree with our position. That's how America works."

In a surprise move, on Thursday morning, Harris took the stand in his own defense. In fact, he was the only defense witness called.

Harris told the court that he knew McGlory, who was transgender, for about six months and had lived with him and had a sexual relationship with him for that period of time.

During the day of the crime, Harris said McGlory wanted to “rape” him.

“He told me he wanted to penetrate me,” he testified. “I told him I don’t get down like that.”

Harris called his landlord to get her to get McGlory to leave, but she said he needed to call the police. Harris told the court he was “afraid of police” and didn’t make the call.

Harris said when McGlory was allegedly threatening to rape him, McGlory had a gun. But, at some point, McGlory put the gun down. That’s when Harris grabbed it.

“The gun went off and hit him,” Harris said of McGlory being shot twice. “I took off into the backyard.”

Harris maintained that he didn’t know the gun, which another witness said he owned, was loaded.

Harris said after the shooting he ran and dumped the gun in the river, before running to his sister’s home on 16th Street and then having a nephew pick him up and take him to another sister’s home on Irish Lane. Police tracked him down by pinging his cellphone and found him hiding in a closet. Harris said he never told his sister why he was hiding.

When asked again by his attorney, Glenn Cortello, if he intended to kill McGlory, he said “no.”

During cross-examination from prosecutor Cheryl Carter, Carter doubled down on testimony from Harris that he and McGlory had been involved in an ongoing relationship and that McGlory never threatened to rape him before.

“So out of the blue, he pulled a gun and said, ‘I want to rape you?’” asked Carter. “Yes ma’am,” Harris replied.

Harris said he only wanted to “hit” McGlory with the gun, not shoot him. He also said McGlory was blocking the exit.

During closing arguments, Carter said, “Desmond Harris had to come up with some kind of story about why he killed Jeffery McGlory.”

She reminded them that in a jailhouse letter he wrote that he never mentioned the threat of being raped. Later, she added, “If he put the gun down, where is the threat?”

Cortello told the jury as he wrapped up that if they believed that Harris had the intent to kill McGlory “then send the little felon to jail,” because he won’t survive it.

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