LIMA — It’s rare a defendant in a murder case leaves the courtroom smiling, but that is exactly what happened Thursday.
Judge Jeffrey Reed granted a request by Jayleontre Harris’ attorney to allow him to hug and kiss his infant, who was born after Harris’ arrest.
Harris is charged with aggravated murder with a gun, aggravated robbery with a gun and burglary with a gun. The charges accuse him of killing 46-year-old Eric Staup on May 19 at Staup’s home at 637 N. Metcalf St., Lima. Police said he went to the home to rob Staup.
The pretrial was rather mundane while still covering important legal matters, such as moving Harris’ trial date back to July 25 after he was assigned his third attorney the day before.
But when the new attorney, Steve Chamberlain, asked Reed to allow his client to hug and kiss his baby, the judge quickly turned to the prosecutor, who threw it back on the judge to decide.
Reed smiled and made a joke asking whether the baby needed to be frisked.
“I’ll let it,” Reed said.
The 19-year-old Harris walked over, under the careful watch of a sheriff’s deputy, to a woman holding his child.
He leaned over and kissed his child for the first time. His family thanked the judge.
Harris and his family left the courtroom smiling. Harris, however, was escorted back to jail.
Harris originally had Bill Kluge as his attorney but was not happy with the working relationship they had. He then was assigned Greg Donohue for a short time and now has Chamberlain and appears to be happier.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.