Tacony man convicted of murder in dog-doo shooting

Posted: February 01, 2013

The Tacony man who fatally shot a neighbor who had complained about dog doo on his lawn was convicted of murder Friday.

The Common Pleas jury of eight women and four men convicted Tyrirk Harris, 28, on charges of third-degree murder and possession of an instrument of crime.

He is to be sentenced on April 26. Assistant District Attorney Deborah Watson-Stokes said she would seek 20 to 40 years in prison, the maximum sentence for a third-degree murder.

Harris, 28, who is being held without bail, testified that victim Manuel Santana, 47, knocked on his front door, on Torresdale Avenue near Magee, and threatened him over his two dogs - a Chihuahua and a German shepherd.

Harris testified at trial that after Santana tried to pull him out of his house, he drew his gun and fired the 9mm Smith & Wesson at Santana in self-defense.

Stokes, in her closing argument, said that Harris committed first-degree murder by shooting an unarmed man who never touched him or his gun and who merely wanted to have a discussion about Harris' not cleaning up after his pets.

She said that Santana's fingerprints were not found on the gun and that Harris could not claim self-defense because he had initiated the deadly violence.

The shots included one bullet that hit Santana in the face, breaking his jaw as it exited his neck, she said, and four bullets that entered his back.

Defense attorney James Berardinelli said that Harris is not guilty because he acted under the state's Castle Doctrine, a law that gives an individual the right to use deadly force in self-protection.

" @MensahDean

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