[Hpn] MOTHER PLEADS NOT GUILTY IN KILLING HER SONS

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Sat, 22 Oct 2005 03:37:03 -0400


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=20
 Mother Pleads Innocent to Killing Sons

By JORDAN ROBERTSON

Associated Press Writer
Published October 22, 2005


SAN FRANCISCO -- The woman seen dropping her young sons into San =
Francisco Bay pleaded innocent Friday to three counts of murder.=20

Lashuan Harris, described as mentally ill by family members, kept her =
head down and held her public defender's hand through most of the brief =
court hearing. She quietly answered "yes" when the San Francisco =
Superior Court judge asked if she was willing to waive her right to a =
speedy preliminary hearing.=20

Harris, 23, faces three counts of murder with the "special circumstance" =
of multiple murder. A claim of special circumstances means a murder =
defendant could be eligible for the death penalty, but San Francisco =
District Attorney Kamala Harris said she hasn't yet decided on whether =
to seek such a sentence.=20

"I've also said I'll always review the facts and compare them to the law =
before I announce my decision," she said outside court Friday.=20

Her lawyer, Teresa Caffese, refused to address questions about Harris' =
mental state, saying only that her client was under suicide watch. She's =
being held without bail.=20

"It's very, very difficult," Caffese said. "This can't be captured in =
words right now."=20

Authorities said Harris, a former nurse's assistant who was living in a =
homeless shelter, was seen putting her three boys in the bay Wednesday.=20

The body of Harris' middle son, Taronta Greeley, 2, was recovered late =
Wednesday about two miles from Pier 7. The other two -- Treyshun Harris, =
6 and Joshoa Greeley, 16 months -- remained missing, but were presumed =
dead after so many hours in the water.=20

The U.S. Coast Guard called off its search Thursday afternoon, but the =
San Francisco police and fire departments continue to scour the bay for =
the two bodies.=20

Harris' next court hearing was set for Oct. 28.=20

Harris told investigators she had stopped taking the anti-psychotic drug =
Haldol once she got her schizophrenia symptoms under control over the =
summer, but the voices returned Tuesday night and were with her when she =
dropped her children into the water, according to a law-enforcement =
summary obtained by The Associated Press.=20

Family members said Harris had made threats before. An aunt told the San =
Francisco Chronicle the threats had prompted the woman's mother to =
contact authorities, but others said they didn't think Harris would =
actually kill her children.=20

"She told my mama she was going to feed them to the sharks," said =
Britney Fitzpatrick, Harris' 16-year-old half sister. "No one thought it =
was that serious."=20

Demarcus Harris, Lashuan Harris' cousin, said the last time he saw her =
was Tuesday at his sister's house in Oakland and the boys were with her. =


When his cousin left, she said goodbye and "I'm going to miss y'all." He =
said neither he nor his sister suspected what she would do the next day. =
"We all thought she was just going home," he said.=20

Harris was hospitalized in January at the John George Psychiatric =
Pavilion in San Leandro and her mother was briefly granted custody of =
the boys, according to her older sister, Telicia Harris, 26.=20

Alameda County social service workers concluded after the first hospital =
stay that Lashuan was fit to care for her sons, Telicia Harris said.=20

Lashuan Harris' aunt, Joyce Harris, told the Chronicle for Friday's =
editions that Lashuan's mother had contacted social services officials =
about three months ago to seek partial custody of the children. She made =
the request because Harris had stopped taking medication and had made =
threats regarding the boys, the paper reported.=20

"They said she was sane, that they couldn't do anything," Joyce Harris =
told the newspaper.=20

Sylvia Soublet, a spokeswoman for the Alameda County Social Services =
Agency, told the Chronicle she could not discuss whether the family had =
contacted her agency about gaining custody.=20

"Lashuan is very protective of the children and I think one of the =
reasons Lashuan stopped taking her medication was for fear of losing her =
three children," an uncle, Avery Garrett, told NBC's "Today" show =
Friday.=20

* __=20

Associated Press writers Lisa Leff and Terence Chea contributed to this =
story.=20



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<DIV class=3Dtext><FONT id=3Dheadline>Mother Pleads Innocent to Killing=20
Sons</FONT><BR><BR><FONT id=3Dbyline>By JORDAN ROBERTSON</FONT></DIV>
<DIV class=3Dtext><FONT><BR></FONT><FONT id=3Dtitleline>Associated Press =

Writer<BR></FONT><FONT id=3Ddate>Published October 22, =
2005</FONT><BR><BR></DIV>
<DIV class=3Dtext>SAN FRANCISCO -- The woman seen dropping her young =
sons into San=20
Francisco Bay pleaded innocent Friday to three counts of murder. =
<BR><BR>Lashuan=20
Harris, described as mentally ill by family members, kept her head down =
and held=20
her public defender's hand through most of the brief court hearing. She =
quietly=20
answered "yes" when the San Francisco Superior Court judge asked if she =
was=20
willing to waive her right to a speedy preliminary hearing. =
<BR><BR>Harris, 23,=20
faces three counts of murder with the "special circumstance" of multiple =
murder.=20
A claim of special circumstances means a murder defendant could be =
eligible for=20
the death penalty, but San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris =
said she=20
hasn't yet decided on whether to seek such a sentence. <BR><BR>"I've =
also said=20
I'll always review the facts and compare them to the law before I =
announce my=20
decision," she said outside court Friday. <BR><BR>Her lawyer, Teresa =
Caffese,=20
refused to address questions about Harris' mental state, saying only =
that her=20
client was under suicide watch. She's being held without bail. =
<BR><BR>"It's=20
very, very difficult," Caffese said. "This can't be captured in words =
right=20
now." <BR><BR>Authorities said Harris, a former nurse's assistant who =
was living=20
in a homeless shelter, was seen putting her three boys in the bay =
Wednesday.=20
<BR><BR>The body of Harris' middle son, Taronta Greeley, 2, was =
recovered late=20
Wednesday about two miles from Pier 7. The other two -- Treyshun Harris, =
6 and=20
Joshoa Greeley, 16 months -- remained missing, but were presumed dead =
after so=20
many hours in the water. <BR><BR>The U.S. Coast Guard called off its =
search=20
Thursday afternoon, but the San Francisco police and fire departments =
continue=20
to scour the bay for the two bodies. <BR><BR>Harris' next court hearing =
was set=20
for Oct. 28. <BR><BR>Harris told investigators she had stopped taking =
the=20
anti-psychotic drug Haldol once she got her schizophrenia symptoms under =
control=20
over the summer, but the voices returned Tuesday night and were with her =
when=20
she dropped her children into the water, according to a law-enforcement =
summary=20
obtained by The Associated Press. <BR><BR>Family members said Harris had =
made=20
threats before. An aunt told the San Francisco Chronicle the threats had =

prompted the woman's mother to contact authorities, but others said they =
didn't=20
think Harris would actually kill her children. <BR><BR>"She told my mama =
she was=20
going to feed them to the sharks," said Britney Fitzpatrick, Harris' =
16-year-old=20
half sister. "No one thought it was that serious." <BR><BR>Demarcus =
Harris,=20
Lashuan Harris' cousin, said the last time he saw her was Tuesday at his =

sister's house in Oakland and the boys were with her. <BR><BR>When his =
cousin=20
left, she said goodbye and "I'm going to miss y'all." He said neither he =
nor his=20
sister suspected what she would do the next day. "We all thought she was =
just=20
going home," he said. <BR><BR>Harris was hospitalized in January at the =
John=20
George Psychiatric Pavilion in San Leandro and her mother was briefly =
granted=20
custody of the boys, according to her older sister, Telicia Harris, 26.=20
<BR><BR>Alameda County social service workers concluded after the first =
hospital=20
stay that Lashuan was fit to care for her sons, Telicia Harris said.=20
<BR><BR>Lashuan Harris' aunt, Joyce Harris, told the Chronicle for =
Friday's=20
editions that Lashuan's mother had contacted social services officials =
about=20
three months ago to seek partial custody of the children. She made the =
request=20
because Harris had stopped taking medication and had made threats =
regarding the=20
boys, the paper reported. <BR><BR>"They said she was sane, that they =
couldn't do=20
anything," Joyce Harris told the newspaper. <BR><BR>Sylvia Soublet, a=20
spokeswoman for the Alameda County Social Services Agency, told the =
Chronicle=20
she could not discuss whether the family had contacted her agency about =
gaining=20
custody. <BR><BR>"Lashuan is very protective of the children and I think =
one of=20
the reasons Lashuan stopped taking her medication was for fear of losing =
her=20
three children," an uncle, Avery Garrett, told NBC's "Today" show =
Friday.=20
<BR><BR>* __ <BR><BR>Associated Press writers Lisa Leff and Terence Chea =

contributed to this story. </DIV><FONT =
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