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Shooting victim's mother gets arrests, answers 13 years after her son's death

Posted at 3:46 PM, Oct 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-09 18:38:54-04

CINCINNATI — Peggy Harris spent the 13 years after her youngest son's death grieving, supporting other victims of gun violence and waiting for news of an arrest. On Friday, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced two.

"My heart goes out to other families whose cases haven't been solved," Harris said Friday. "But I want to encourage you. I want to ask you to stay prayerful because it's going to come."

Her son, John Harris, was 25 years old on June 7, 2007, the day police found him lying in the middle of Fergus Street. He was the youngest of seven children; still the baby of the family, his mother said, even as he worked to support three children of his own.

He had been shot to death during an apparent carjacking, according to officers who responded to the scene early that morning.

On Friday, Deters announced the indictment of Christopher Whitt, 34, and Darris DeVaughn, 30, in connection to his death. DeVaughn and Whitt are charged with one count each of aggravated murder, murder and aggravated robbery. If convicted of all charges, they face the possibility of life in prison without parole.

"Although the crime happened in 2007, the police never forgot about Mr. Harris’s murder and continued to work hard to solve the case," Deters said. "Thanks to improvements in technology, CPD was able to develop a lead that resulted in the indictment today of these two defendants."

He also thanked Peggy Harris for her role as a community advocate in the years since the shooting.

"Mrs. Harris can be found at almost every community event that works to promote peace in our community and encourage people with information on unsolved homicides to contact the police," he said.