Victim’s Brother-in-Law Testifies Regarding His Last Time Seeing the Victim

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On March 16, a victim’s brother-in-law testified about his experience on the day the murder took place.

Jean Kearney, 35, is charged in connection to the murder of Dontra Harris, 33, and the assault of a law enforcement officer. Kearney has seven charges against him, including first-degree murder while armed, assault on a police officer while armed, and two counts of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, among other charges. 

Harris was murdered on April 4, 2021, on the 1800 block of 24th Street, NE. The defendant then assaulted an officer on May 13, 2021, as a group of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers were trying to serve a search warrant at his residence, according to court documents. 

Harris’ brother in law told the jury that he had been with Harris on April 4, up to an hour before he was killed. He explained that after an encounter with a motorcycle on their way to Harris’ apartment, Harris went into his apartment to kiss his fiancee and two kids before heading out again. That was the last time any of them saw him. 

The brother in law mentioned that as he and his sister were eating dinner the shooting happened. He stated that they had to army crawl from the living room area to reach the kids in their bedroom and take them to the back room to try to shield them from any gunfire.

After about 20 minutes of silence, the witness said he decided to go outside and check what had happened. However, he told the jury that he didn’t see anything other than the two bullet holes on the front entrance to the building. 

The witness went back into the apartment with his sister and was just hanging out when they realized there were flashlights shining outside the living room window. 

When he saw the lights, he immediately opened up the shades, and saw Harris lying lifeless behind the bush looking into the window with an arm covering his forehead.

When police identified the victim, the brother in law spoke with them and tried to give them as much information as he could about the motorcycle he had the incident with, but he didn’t recall much about the individual on the bike. 

The prosecutors also called an MPD officer who worked with the gun recovery unit at the time and was dispatched to execute a search warrant at Kearney’s house on May 13, 2021. 

The officer told the jury that when MPD first arrived at the defendant’s residence one of his upstairs windows was opened, which was significant due to them having to loudly announce themselves to the individual in the home. In body worn camera footage, the sergeant for the squad said “police department with a search warrant, open up” a total of three times. 

When the defendant failed to open up for police, the officer broke down the front door that led to a porch. As the officer was trying to break down the door to the actual house, the defendant started shooting at the door. This led to officers to barricade the house for an hour as they awaited the SWAT team. 

The defendant surrendered once the SWAT team arrived, and the officers were able to go into his house to execute the search warrant. 

During the search, officers recovered an AK-47 rifle, a drum magazine that had a capacity of 100 bullets, along with other gun paraphernalia. They also recovered one of the suspect’s vehicles, which was the blue, white, and red motorcycle. 

Trial is slated to continue on March 20.

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