A Hennepin County jury convicted Jermaine Edward Harris of murder Friday for the 2012 shooting death of Richard Jinkins, an acquaintance. It was the third time that Harris faced a murder rap for Jinkins’ death; two earlier trials ended with hung juries.
This time the jury took one day to convict Harris, 29, of second-degree murder. He had faced first-degree murder charges in the first two trials. He will be sentenced March 21.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and Harris’ attorney, Eric Newmark, both said it was the only case they could recall in which a defendant was charged three times for the same crime.
“It’s rare that the state gets three chances to marshal their evidence, hone their strategies and to be able to respond to the defense in the case,” said Newmark, who, along with attorney Jill Brisbois, represented Harris. “The element of surprise, the defense doesn’t have it after the third time,” he said.
Harris, Jinkins, 30, and two other men were drinking and smoking PCP on Nov. 21, 2012, in a car parked in the 2600 block of N. Third Street. A witness claimed Harris harbored some hostility toward Jinkins for sleeping with his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his child. When Jinkins got out of the car to urinate near the Interstate 94 wall, Harris got out of the car and shot him several times, prosecutors charged.