First-Degree Murder Charges Dropped In July 4th Inner Harbor Fight

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Prosecutors have dropped the most serious charge against the man accused of killing a tourist at the Fourth of July fireworks in the Inner Harbor. 

Mike Schuh was at his bail hearing.

The first-degree murder charge against Marcus Harris was dropped Thursday. After you hear what his attorney says is his side of the story you may understand why.

WJZ showed you some of the fights at the fireworks show, but the one at Pier 5 was deadly.

Police say Harris stabbed Alabama tourist Joe Calo in the neck with a broken bottle. Calo died.

“He was just doing what he always did, standing up for his little brother,” said Lindsey Reilley, victim’s ex-girlfriend.

Reilley was told by those who were there what happened that night. Charging documents refer to the fight that precipitated Calo’s death.

Actually there were two fights that night. The second one involved five men, including Calo. It’s this one which tumbles into the man charged with Calo’s death, Marcus Harris.

“What people are forgetting is that it was the tourists, the visitors in this situation, who came and escalated the fight and brought the fight back to the area where Mr. Harris was in,” said Margaret Mead, attorney for the accused.

Mead represents Harris. In court on Thursday, Harris’s first-degree murder charge was thrown out.

His attorney says he was bent over talking with his son when a group of men fighting, including the victim, were pushed into him. He fell over onto his son, who hit his head.

“Remember Mr. Harris is there with his three children and his numerous nieces and nephews,” said Mead. “He’s not involved in any altercation. He gets knocked down and over onto his son who gets injured.”

Her client tells her he saw Calo approach with clenched fists. She says her client saw a broken bottle, grabbed it and swung.  He didn’t know about injury or death until he saw his picture on TV.

Though the first-degree murder charge was dropped, the judge denied Harris bail.

“Oh, I absolutely think it’s because it’s high-profile,” Mead said. “In any other jurisdiction or circumstance he would have been given a bail.”

This second-degree murder charge is still serious business. His attorney says she will soon ask for bail review on this charge. Until that time, Harris remains at Central Booking.

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