LIMA — A jury trial remains scheduled for Feb. 20 in the aggravated murder case of a 19-year-old Lima man, although plea negotiations reportedly are underway.
Jayleontre Harris, who turns 20 one day before his trial begins, appeared in Allen County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday for a final pre-trial hearing. He was accompanied by his court-appointed attorney Steve Chamberlain, the third lawyer that has represented the Lima man during his prolonged court case that started nearly two years ago. Defense attorneys Bill Kluge and Greg Donohue both were previously appointed to represent Harris, and both were subsequently dismissed by the defendant.
Harris is charged with aggravated murder with a firearm, an unclassified felony, in the shooting death of 46-year-old Eric Staup on May 19, 2016, at Staup’s home at 637 N. Metcalf St. Police said Harris went to the home to rob Staup. Harris also faces charges of aggravated robbery with a firearm and aggravated burglary with a gun, both first-degree felonies, in connection with the incident.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Judge Jeffrey Reed said the jury trial scheduled for Harris is still on schedule, but noted that representatives of the Allen County Prosecuting Attorney’s office have been negotiating a potential plea agreement with the defense counsel. Assistant prosecutors Ken Sturgill and Randall Basinger, along with Chamberlain and Harris, met briefly at the judge’s bench to put the status of those plea negotiations on the record.
A final hearing prior to trial, at which time both the defense and prosecutors are expected to submit motions pertaining to various pieces of evidence in the case, was scheduled for 8 a.m. Feb. 13.
Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464.