CHICAGO — The family of a man convicted of murder is demanding he be released from prison. They said new evidence has come to light about the only witness who helped convict him.
Darien Harris, 26, was convicted for a 2011 murder largely based on the eyewitness testimony from a man who was legally blind.
His mother, Nakesha Harris, has asked the Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to throw out his murder conviction based on new evidence. Harris was a high school senior when a witness said he saw him shoot and kill a man at a South Side gas station and wound another.
Despite no physical evidence, the judge in a bench trial found the accuser a credible witness.
Harris’ mother said her son had an alibi, because he was with his father at the time of the shooting.
“He was legally blind at the time. When the question came up in court, he stated that his eyesight was OK, that his diabetes didn’t affect his vision. We found out after that he was deemed legally blind in 2002,” Harris’ mother said.
The judge sentenced Harris to 76 years in prison. He is serving time at Stateville Correctional Center.
The Harris family is facing a July deadline. The case has been reassigned to a new judge, because the old judge has since retired.
Foxx's office said they are reviewing the matter.
Harris' case has gotten the attention of activist Ja'Mal Green who has been helping raise awareness about the case.