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Jury acquits Gary woman of murder

Lake Superior Court jurors acquitted a Gary woman of murder in the shooting death of her longtime boyfriend in 2010.

After about two hours of deliberations, jurors acquitted Darlene Stewart, 56, of the charge in the homicide of Jimmie R. Harris Sr., who suffered two gunshot wounds at his residence at 4252 Adams St., Gary. Harris died at the scene.

At about 12:30 a.m. Sept. 30, 2010, police responded to a call from a woman identified as “Darlene” who said, “He’s hitting me. He’s hitting me. Help.” When police arrived two minutes after the 911 call, the door was standing open, Stewart was on the floor, breathing but unresponsive, and Harris was dead in a bedroom.

During closing arguments, deputy prosecutor Reginald Marcus told jurors that it appeared from evidence at the scene that Harris was shot while he was sitting at the computer playing video poker. Arriving officers found a revolver with Harris’ blood on it on the kitchen counter and blood drops and transfer on walls and elsewhere in the house. Stewart’s blouse was soaked in blood along the waistband in the front and back.

Stewart, who was more than three times the legal limit for intoxication, told an emergency room doctor Harris had hit her, so she shot him. She also told police Harris had never struck her before, and later told officers she had little memory of the incident.

Defense attorney Scott King, who told jurors in his opening statement that the case was a mystery as to who the killer might be, said he was wrong. Just like the final episode of the HBO series “The Sopranos,” the mystery of who killed Harris remained unsolved. King blamed the “authors,” the state of Indiana and police, for failing to prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.

While Marcus argued that the case was largely circumstantial, he told jurors it was obvious that Harris didn’t shoot himself, then put the gun on the counter and walk back into the bedroom to die.

King, however, said a sloppy police investigation and unanswered questions about things Stewart’s daughters found in the home and photographed two days after the killing left unanswered questions. “We don’t guess people into prison,” King said.

Stewart had been free on $10,000 cash bond since April 5.



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