LIMA — A 21-year-old Lima man acquitted of murder last year but currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for aggravated robbery has rejected an offer from prosecutors that would have added six years to his sentence on separate charges.
Jayleontre Harris, who in February of 2018 was found not guilty of murder by an Allen County jury in the shooting death of Eric Straup, was indicted in October of last year on charges of felonious assault with a three-year gun specification, a felony of the second degree; having weapons while under disability, a third-degree felony; and aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony.
During a pre-trial hearing Monday morning, Assistant Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Randall Basinger put on the official record an offer that had been floated before Harris on previous occasions.
Basinger said that in exchange for Harris’ plea of guilty to the felonious assault charge and gun spec, the state would dismiss the two remaining charges. It would be the state’s recommendation, Basinger said, that Harris serve a six-year prison term — three years for the assault charge and a mandatory three-year term for the use of a firearm. That sentence, said the prosecutor, would be served consecutively to the 14 years Harris is currently serving.
Defense Attorney Steve Chamberlin said his client has rejected that offer, and Basinger said the plea deal was off the table and will not be offered again.
A July 9 jury trial has been scheduled for Harris on the latest charges.
A jury last year found Harris not guilty of aggravated murder in the shooting death of Staup on May 19, 2016, at Staup’s home at 637 N. Metcalf St., Lima.
Witnesses testified at trial that Staup lunged for the gun Harris wielded, causing a brief struggle before the fatal gunshot. The jury determined Harris didn’t intentionally kill Staup.