TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Dawnta Harris, the teen who accused of burglarizing homes and running over Baltimore County Police Officer Amy Caprio with a stolen Jeep last May, was found guilty of felony murder, burglary and theft.
Harris faced five charges in total. Here’s the verdict on each count:
- felony murder (guilty)
- first-degree burglary (guilty on one count, not guilty on the second count)
- fourth-degree burglary (not guilty)
- theft (guilty)
When the verdict was read in the courtroom, one member of Harris’ family screamed and ran out of the courtroom crying. Harris put his head in his hands and then put his head down on the table and was heard audibly crying.
“He’s not in good shape, he’s not in good shape,” said Warren Brown, one of Harris’ attorneys, “He’s been in a whirlwind this whole time. But, he’ll have to deal with it.”
Brown said there are no winners in this case and that Harris was remorseful and was “not doing well.”
“For those who want to rejoice on either side,” Brown said, “there are no winners, just losers here.”
“Nothing this court can do can bring Officer Caprio back,” he said.
The teen’s other attorney J. Wyndal Gordon thanked the judge and jury for their fair trial.
“I told you in the very beginning we were going to do our best, we were going to fight and that’s what we did we fought,” said Gordon, ” and because of us fighting it wasn’t a clean slate. He was found not guilty of some of the charges.”
The attorneys said they will file motions for a new trial and an appeal after the sentencing.
The prosecutor also thanked the jury for paying attention to the case and parsing out the evidence that allowed them to get to the verdict.
“We thought the jurors came to a very reasonable conclusion,” the prosecutor said. “It was the one the evidence demanded.”
Caprio’s family held long hugs outside of the Baltimore County Courthouse moments after learning the West Baltimore teenager who ran her over, was found responsible for her death.
Caprio’s parents spoke to the media after the trial and thanked the jury, but said they will continue to live with the pain of her death every day.
“We wouldn’t have been able to get through this without people’s love and compassion,” Debbie Byus Sorrells, Caprio’s mother, said after the verdict.
“Honestly this sort of thing isn’t a closure, it’s a continuation,” said Caprio’s father Gary Sorrells. “We will live with this traumatic event in our lives. We wake up in the morning, we live it every day, and it’s not something that’s going to go away.”
Tim, Amy’s husband, left after the verdict and didn’t speak to the media.
“My heartfelt condolences and prayers remain with Officer Amy Caprio’s family. The past couple of weeks have undoubtedly been difficult for Amy’s family, friends, and co-workers at the Baltimore County Police Department,’ said county executive Johnny Olszewski. “I thank the jurors who listened to the testimony, examined the evidence, and rendered their verdict. While this does not bring back Officer Caprio, justice has been delivered.”
“I want to again thank Officer Caprio for her commitment to the people of Baltimore County and I want to thank her family for sharing her with us. I pray daily for the safety of our men and women in law enforcement,” Olszewski added.
- Jury Will Continue Deliberations Wednesday Morning In Slaying Of Ofc. Amy Caprio
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- Ofc. Amy Caprio’s Body Camera Footage Released
- Officer Amy Caprio’s Autopsy, Forensic Evidence Shared At Trial
- Jurors Hear Evidence On Teen ‘Crime Spree’ Ending In Officer Caprio’s Death
- ‘This Was A Senseless, Cruel Murder,’ State Shows Jury Video Of Officer Amy Caprio’s Fatal Encounter
Jury deliberations continued Wednesday morning for about two hours until they had reached a verdict at around 11 a.m. Deliberations began right after lunch Tuesday.
Caprio died on May 21, 2018 while responding to a suspicious vehicle report in Perry Hall. She confronted a group of four teens inside a stolen Jeep that Harris was driving.
Last week, jurors watched Caprio’s body-worn camera footage. She could be heard repeatedly ordering Harris out of the car. She drew her pistol and the Jeep slammed into her. The teen’s lawyer described Caprio’s death as an “accident.”
Attorneys argued a technicality in convicting first-degree felony murder that hinged on convincing the jury Harris was also involved in a string of burglaries in the neighborhood and was trying to escape from that crime when he ran over Caprio in a stolen Jeep.
“When we go to sentencing later this year, we will be seeking a life sentence. We thought the jurors came to a very reasonable conclusion. It was the one that the evidence demanded,” said Scott Shellenberger, Baltimore County State’s Attorney.
The sentencing will be on July 23. Prosecutors said they will seek a life sentence.
Harris’ attorneys said they believe they will file an appeal but both said they believed he received a fair trial.
The three other teenagers involved in this incident have not yet gone to trial.