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.

More from Mike Schuh
  • More B.S.

    Oh, cut us a break!

    The attorney is going for the “Self Defense” defense; or more specifically, defending a child.
    There is information that is missing from the report. Did the child require medical attention? -I seriously doubt it.

    The judge will have to decide if the action taken by the defendent were warranted. What type of altercation warrants plunging a broken bottle into the neck of an assailant? My opinion is that it would need to shown that it was a life-threatening situation, with no possibilty of escape. The broken bottle was an example of the use of deadly force.

    In my humble opinion, the use of a broken bottle was Not warranted by the situation that supposedly injured this little boy. Just an angry man, retaliating against another human being in anger. Throw the book at him, and any others that respond in like manner.

    Probably never learned to share his toys with others either.

    • Common-Sen$e

      I would vote to give you the death penalty. This is nothing but verbal vomit!

  • William McCollum

    Is the defense attorney a functional illiterate or is it the witnesses, or perhaps the reporter? This is one of the most poorly written accounts of an event that I’ve ever read. That said, it does sound like a second degree murder charge is appropriate and not first degree.

  • Jay

    Hmmm so the tourist wasn’t such an innocent guy after all huh?

  • Diane King

    No, the tourist was not so innocent, sounds like he was getting rowdy and fighting, but he DID NOT have a weapon. When Marcus Harris picked up a broken bottle, like a freakin coward, he turned a brawl into something deadly.

  • JJ

    OK so you take a broken bottle and stab another person then flee the scene! Come on any law obeying person that would have been using self defense would have called 911 to report what happened and waited for the police! I wounder what Marcus Harris has on MD Jud. Case Search?
    Again welcome to Baltimore!

  • Tomika Snead

    @ Mike so what is that suppose to mean if ur black u can attack? That is not true it is a known fact that whites get less than than black people example Casey Anthony. So please.. @ poor Marcus unfortunately that’s is the story of a lot of inner city seems like they were destined to fail for the get go.. Now I do believe that second degree fits this case cause the tourist dis start they fight did he have to pick up a broken bottle heck Marcus was a coward for that..

    • whatnow

      I’ll see your Casey Anthony and raise you an OJ.

      • Stephanie DeBarber

        mwahaha. i like that

  • monique

    @poor marcus you so far from the truth thats the problem sterotyping . He is educated very good father been there for his kids their whole life . A working man and been out of trouble. The child did go to the hospital and was hurt. They need to investigate the incident more and the tourist came back threw the crowds to find them and fight again coward he is not he would of fought them but when you have your kids and one get hurt tell me you not gonna protect them. I seen it wasnt him they got the bottle so much they need to fingerprint it and they will find out who really did it. PERIOD!!!!!

  • boozey

    Tomika what does Oj have to say about this?

  • stationnorth

    It doesn’t matter if it is first or second degree murder. Murder is murder. Give Harris the death penalty. That is what he deserves.

    • Common-Sen$e

      Wow, someone should give your ignorant ass the death penalty. Do you have kids? If not, let me tell you something. If some punk came up to me, that already lost a fight, and is looking for revenge in front of my kids and nephews? I’m grabbing something, weapon-wise. This man is NO WAY a coward for protecting his young children to death. Kill or be killed. This is a classic self defense issue. This man has a long road ahead of him, but all charges should and WILL be dropped.

      • G

        so pulling a knife out of your pocket and stabbing a man to death in front of your kids is protecting them? im pretty sure this guy is the one these kids need to be protected from.

  • Patt Mcdaniel

    As far as i’m concern the saftey of my kids come frist. the man was pushed on top of one the MANY kids he had with him to watch the fire works. the child hit his head if I read the story right. On top of that he was pushed from behind.If I were laying on the ground (remmber in a slipt sec.) rolled over and seen someones fist coming at me. (with my child in thought and fear for my childs and my life) your Dame right if it was a rock i’d would of smashed him.
    how ever I would have called the police once my kids were safe. What kind of vistors are we inviting into our town is money gotten more important than the saftey of our childern?

  • valencia

    To everyone out there you all have your opioions and thats cool but my brother was a loving and careing person who would do anything in this world to help and look out for the next person just think about it if it was your child or family member you were trying to protect you would have done the same or more worser then that so lets all keep it real he was not there for no drama just to show the kids a nice time and no matter eat i still love my brother!!!

  • craig

    well giving the situation as is… gangs, and thugs, in general. we hear so much of stabbings and shootings, in bars on the streets in every area of the country. men and women do not fight one on one… its kill or be killed… that is the attitude of today… use to be you either won a fight or lost or it was broken up before it got to far… but the rules have changed with the drug gangs… people are afraid… scared… so you see a big fight and the next thing you or involved somehow.. your scared now a man coming at you in anger… going to attack you what would you think.. maybe a severe beating… for what he did not do nothing… so i problay would have picked up the bottle to and defended my life or my body or my child also… this may not be right thing to do … but look at the news on tv today… lots of innocent people getting murdered and they never had a chance to fight back… this guy took the chance …

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  • Sam Kunz

    I was there. I saw it. This person KILLED in COLD BLOOD Joe Callo. HOW DARE HE say it was in self defense. There were NO weapons. Except the one the MURDERER Picked up. I Was there. I saw it. First hand. This person KILLED AND ATTACKED JOE CALLO…….I wil make sure, if this MURDERER gets off…EVERYONE AROUND HIM KNOWS….THIS PERSON COMITTED A RACE HATRED MURDER

  • nat

    If the victim had been negro and the killer been white the NAACP would demand that 1st degree murder charges be laid but since it was a negro NAACP member who committed the murder,its not politically correct to actually make them pay.

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