Testimony begins in Harris-James murder trial - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Testimony begins in Harris-James murder trial

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Testimony began early Monday afternoon following opening statements. Relatives of businessman and former commissioner Walter Phelps were in court as the trial for two men accused of robbing and killing him four years ago began.

The prosecution says Jordan Harris robbed and shot Phelps, while Ezekial James drove the getaway car.

But the defense says the prosecution's evidence and witnesses are not trustworthy. Jordan Harris and Ezekial James sat emotionless as prosecutor Heather Lanier presented the state's case, saying the two are responsible for killing Walter Phelps.

"At the conclusion of the case and the evidence, we're going to ask you to render a verdict that speaks the truth. That these defendants are guilty for their role in the armed robbery of P&P hardware and the ultimate death of Walter Phelps," said Lanier.

Lanier says Harris shot Phelps who was getting ready to open his store the morning of July 3rd, 2010. Phelps died two months later. "Once the defendant gets the property that he can get from Mr. Phelps after shooting him and kicking him over, going through his pockets, he has to run."

The state says James drove Harris to pick up their friends, including Jamon Carter to go on a shopping spree using Phelps' credit card at the Polo store in Lake Park, which was captured on surveillance video.

"We expect the evidence to show that the defendants were there using the credit card for purchases. A couple transactions, over thousands of dollars."

The defense says the state doesn't have physical evidence. "There will be no evidence that Ezekial James was at, or near P&P hardware on July 3, 2010. Period, none. In deciding this case, you'll see a lack of trustworthy investigation, a lack of trustworthy identification and a lack of trustworthy witnesses."

One of those witnesses is Jamon Carter, who pled guilty to conspiracy to commit armed robbery and is expected to testify against Harris and James.

"You'll find on three different occasions, the evidence will show that Mr. Carter told the police something totally different, totally different!" said defense attorney Johnnie Graham.

The defense also pointed out that the medical examiner will have to prove that Walter Phelps died from complications from being shot.

Jordan Harris is already serving life plus 20 years for armed robbery convictions in Dougherty and Lee Counties.

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