LIMA — Jayleontre Harris wasn’t sentenced on a homicide Monday morning, but only the conviction against him denied he killed Eric Staup.
Harris apologized in court to his family, the victim’s family and to his infant son, who Harris acknowledged wouldn’t know his father the way he should.
“I’m not the person they’re making me out to be,” Harris said. “I’m not that monster.”
Harris, 20, received a 14-year prison sentence on an aggravated robbery charge. He received credit for the 665 days he spent in jail so far.
Harris, 20, of Lima, received the maximum possible sentence of 11 years in prison for aggravated homicide plus a required three-year sentence for using a gun. The charges stem from a May 19, 2016, incident that left Eric Staup, 46, dead at his home at 637 N. Metcalf St., Lima, after Harris attempted to rob Staup of marijuana and money at gunpoint.
No one from Staup’s family offered a victim impact statement Monday.
In February, a jury found Harris not guilty of aggravated murder in the case. During testimony, witnesses said Staup lunged for the gun Harris wielded, causing a brief struggle before the fatal gunshot. The jury determined Harris didn’t intentionally kill Staup.
When Judge Jeffrey Reed asked for the prosecution’s input Monday on a possible sentence, Assistant Prosecutor Randall Basinger reminded Reed that Staup had faced a murder charge and admitted to being a part of things when Staup died. He also noted Harris had a lengthy juvenile record, even if this was his first crime as an adult.
Back in April 2017, Reed granted a defense request to let Harris hug and kiss his infant for the first time, as Harris’s arrest came before the birth of the child. On Monday, Reed sounded more like a judge admonishing a killer, especially after Harris mentioned how much he’d miss his son and being able to protect him.
“That should be your life’s mission, not to put your son through this,” Reed said.