Shot nine times, victim charged with perjury for frustrating shooting probe

Posted: June 19, 2012

From the moment Philadelphia police found James Ellis lying in a pool of blood outside his car in the Fairhill section last June, Ellis was what authorities call uncooperative.

Ellis, 21, had been shot nine times and crashed his vehicle into several parked cars before crawling from his Buick LeSabre.

He was stabilized at a nearby hospital and recuperated over the next three months. But the recollections Ellis offered of the shooting, prosecutors said, remained frustratingly opaque. He never gave a clear account of where it happened, and he provided no information as to who tried to kill him. On Ellis's Facebook page, meanwhile, he wrote about the shooting, saying he had been "set up."

On Monday, District Attorney Seth Williams announced that his office was taking a harder line with those who refuse to help police solve violent crimes. Ellis has been charged with perjury, accused of lying repeatedly to a grand jury investigating his shooting.

"Hopefully this sends an important message to the ‘no-snitching' culture that currently exists in Philadelphia," Williams said Monday. "Instead of making the most of this second lease on life, Ellis decided to deceive the police and my office."

Ellis, a convicted felon, is a fugitive. A warrant for his arrest has been issued on an outstanding gun charge, and anyone with information is being asked to call the Police Department at 215-686-8477.

After Ellis was shot, police found drugs and a gun in his car. Ellis later told them that he had bought the car that day, after saving money he had earned giving haircuts in his mother's basement, and that he had not noticed the drugs or gun when he bought it. He also said it was his first car.

Police later spoke to a man who said he had sold Ellis the car weeks earlier. They also found Facebook messages about Ellis' other cars.

Police also interviewed neighborhood residents who told them Ellis was involved with the Platter Boys, a violent drug gang operating in the area that has been linked to a series of ongoing disputes, including a shooting that killed several innocent bystanders last year.

Contact Allison Steele at 215-854-2641 or asteele@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @AESteele.

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