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Man accused of shooting kids in Westwood has bond removed so he can't get out of jail before trial

WCPO shooting suspect harris.png
Posted at 11:24 AM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 18:47:31-04

CINCINNATI — The man accused of shooting three children and an 18-year-old in Westwood in 2021 will not be able to bond out of jail before his trial, a judge ruled.

Darius Harris was in court Thursday for a hearing to determine if his bond would be removed. Harris’ bond was originally set at $1 million on June 22, 2021 after he was arrested and charged with firing a gun outside a convenience store at the corner of Cavanaugh and McHenry avenues in Westwood, striking four people with bullets. Their ages were 6, 7, 8 and 18 at the time.

MJ Whitehead, the 8-year-old hospitalized for 150 days after the shooting, continues to deal with severe injuries. His mother and father spoke in front of the judge at the bond hearing Thursday.

"A feeding tube is in his stomach, and he is on oxygen 24/7," Marcella Thompson said. "He has a bad lung and has respiratory treatments every six hours. MJ played football —"

She walked away from the podium as she broke down in tears.

Whitehead's father, Jamon Bean, finished her statement, "MJ played football, but because there is no action, we take him for walks in wheelchairs. He has to have his skin taken off his legs to heal his head…"

RELATED | Mother faces Westwood shooting suspect in court

Court records show Harris was out on bond when the shooting happened in June 2021. He was arrested in April of that year. Police accused him of having a weapon while under disability.

Records state that Harris had a previous conviction as a juvenile “for commission of an offense that, if committed by an adult, would have been a felony offense." That charge was the conveyance of a weapon in a detention facility.

Judge Christopher Wagner set Harris' bond conditions in that case, and Thursday he was in charge of setting the conditions of the bond.

"Darius Harris is so dangerous, he does not deserve a bond, and that is what we are asking for today," assistant prosecutor Allison Oswall said.

Harris' attorney, Danielle Colliver, told the judge her client would never be able to afford the $1 million bond he is being held under now. She argued it is unconstitutional because bonds are designed to ensure defendants show up for court dates, not keep them in jail.

"I'm further asking the court to reduce his bond because he does not have the financial ability to pay the bond as it is currently set," Colliver said.

Judge Wagner ruled in favor of the prosecution, stating the risk is too high.

Harris faces seven counts of felonious assault, one count of carrying concealed weapons and one count of having weapons while under disability.

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