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Gary woman’s murder trial begins

Updated: December 29, 2012 6:24AM



Lake Superior Court jurors began hearing evidence Tuesday in the murder trial of a Gary woman charged with killing her longtime boyfriend in 2010 in Gary.

Darlene Stewart, 56, who has been free on $10,000 cash bond since April 2011, had been involved in a 20-year relationship with the victim, Jimmie R. Harris Sr.

Deputy prosecutor Veronica Gonzalez said in her opening statement that evidence would show that police found Stewart breathing but unresponsive on the floor near the open front door of the couple’s home on Sept. 30, 2010, at 4252 Adams St., Gary. Arriving officers found no visible injuries on Stewart.

On the kitchen counter lay a revolver containing two spent round and three live rounds. Police found apparent blood on the counter, walls and elsewhere in the home. Harris was facedown on the floor in a bedroom.

Minutes before the discovery of the victim and Stewart at about 12:30 a.m., police received a 911 call in which Stewart said, “He’s hitting me. He’s hitting me. Help.”

In his opening statement, defense attorney Scott King said both Stewart and Harris had been drinking the night before the homicide and that jurors would hear “near hysteria” in Stewart’s voice on the 911 call

“What we end up with is a fairly significant mystery of what happened,” King said. Stewart has no recollection of the shooting, which King said can be explained scientifically by a psychologist who is expected to testify in the case.

King told jurors the crime scene investigation overlooked what he termed significant evidence discovered the following day by Stewart’s daughters. In addition, a puzzling sound drew the arriving officers’ attention down the hallway, which King said could point to the possibility of an intruder as the shooter.

Among the first witnesses was Keisha Harris, the victim’s daughter-in-law, who said there had never been any allegation of domestic violence between Stewart and Jimmie Harris Sr.

Testimony is expected to resume Wednesday in the courtroom of Judge Diane Ross Boswell.



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