BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A jury has been seated in the case of Dawnta Harris, a teenager accused of hitting and killing Baltimore County police Officer Amy Caprio last year with a stolen Jeep.
Harris is the first of four teens to go on trial in the murder. He was 16 at the time of the killing and faces adult charges that carry life in prison without the possibility of parole.
According to prosecutors, Harris ran over Officer Caprio as she investigated reports that several homes were being robbed on Linwen Way in Perry Hall last May.
Defense attorneys have argued the slain officer was too “aggressive” and should never have pulled Harris over in the stolen Jeep.
They also criticized her for opening fire on him as he sped toward her.
J. Wyndal Gordon, who represents the teen, said he is not concerned about those who dislike his criticism of the fallen officer.
“There’s some ugly truths about this case, and we plan to expose them,“ Gordon said. “That’s all I’m trying to do. I can’t be timid about my client’s defense.“
Defense attorneys lost several pre-trial motions including their request to stop prosecutors from showing Officer Caprio’s body-worn camera video at the time of the incident.
The defense had previously called on the state’s attorney to release the video, claiming it would show the death was accidental and that Harris was “ducking in fear of a hail of gunfire” as he drove the Jeep toward Caprio.
Prosecutors cannot mention Harris’ troubled past, including that he was on electronic home monitoring at the time of the murder.
A WJZ Investigation found Harris had stolen four cars in the six months before Caprio’s killing. He even broke out of a juvenile facility.
His exasperated mother said she petitioned for her son to be locked up for his own good, but a judge allowed him to be placed on home detention.
Officer Caprio was killed just days before her 30th birthday and was praised by the police chief and colleagues as an exemplary officer.