Thursday, February 25, 2021

D.A.'s Staffer Beats Murder Rap In Shooting Death of Prostitute

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The state Attorney General's office has decided that a staff member of the Philadelphia District Attorney's office acted in self defense last year when he shot and killed a male prostitute.

At 10 a.m. on Oct. 20, 2020, DeVonte' Douglass, then the D.A.'s gun violence coordinator, shot and killed Vernon Harris, whom he had met on Instagram, and agreed to meet near the Mount Peace cemetery to have "a sexual encounter in exchange for money," police said.

“After a thorough investigation into the fatal shooting of Vernon Harris on October 20, 2020, the Office of Attorney General has determined Devonte’ Douglass acted in self defense when he fired his weapon and will not be charged with homicide," a spokesperson for the AG's office said today.

However, the spokesperson said, "Mr. Douglass was arrested and charged for other crimes surrounding Mr. Harris’ death, including soliciting for prostitution and misleading investigators about the facts surrounding the fatal shooting.” Douglass was also charged with possession of an instrument of crime.

After Douglass's encounter with Harris, which took place in the back seat of a car, Douglass told police, Harris stood outside the vehicle and pointed a gun at Douglass, and demanded all his money.

Harris then placed his gun inside his waistband. But when Harris started reaching around the vehicle, Douglass told police that he feared that Harris was going to take out his gun and shoot him. So Douglass drew his gun and shot Harris twice in the chest, killing him. Then he ran across Lehigh Avenue, pleading for someone to call police. 

Police recovered a 9 mm gun registered to Douglass. As a member of the District Attorney's Immediate Response Team, DeVonte' Douglass routinely visited crime scenes, hospitals, and the medical examiner's office when there was a homicide, to offer help to victims' families. 

Douglass, wearing his DA's ID badge around his neck, was transported to the homicide unit. Then, the case was turned over to the attorney general's office for investigation because the D.A.'s office had an obvious conflict of interest. 

Police confiscated a Smith & Wesson .357 magnum from Harris's waistband. 

Harris, 29, had previously been arrested on Aug. 22, 2019 and charged with retail theft and conspiracy. He had previously been found guilty of contempt in 2012, for which he received 5 -10 days in jail. In 2010, he was convicted of possession of marijuana in 2010, and sentenced to a diversionary program. 

Douglass, 28, had been placed on administrative leave last fall by D.A. Krasner pending the outcome of the attorney general's investigation. As far as Douglass was concerned, it's a shame his case wasn't  investigated by the D.A.'s office.

Because not only would Douglass have beat the murder rap but he also would have never been charged with soliciting a prostitute. Because under the enlightened regime of noted criminal justice "reformer" Larry Krasner, prostitution isn't a crime.

Krasner, of course, did not respond to a request for comment. 

For the state attorney general's office, today was the second time in three months that that office had to preside over the disposition of a criminal case involving a member of the Philadelphia District Attorney's office. 

On May 11, 2020, police arrested Assistant District Attorney Dana Lynn Bazelon, 40, of Center City,  after she allegedly left her four-year-old daughter unattended in a parked car.

Cops were on routine patrol on the 200 block of Rittenhouse Street in the Mount Airy section of the city at 3:21 p.m. when they were flagged down by a man who told them a child had been left alone in the back seat of a gray Ford Fusion.

The police made eye contact with the child, unlocked the car door through an open window and took the child into custody. The victim's mother, identified as Dana Lynn Bazelon, 40, of Center City, returned 34 minutes later with her six-year-old son.

The mother told police that she went for a walk with her son and didn't want to wake her daughter because she hadn't been sleeping well. Bazelon was and is an assistant district attorney who on her Facebook page Bazelon states that she is a "proud Philadelphian" and "criminal justice reformer" who serves as a "policy advisor" to D.A. Larry Krasner.

Police charged Bazelon with child endangerment. She was placed in custody and police transported Bazelon and her two children to the Special Victims Unit, where the four-year-old was reported in good condition.

On Dec. 28, 2020, the attorney general claimed they released an official statement to any parties that inquired on the disposition of the case. It was a statement, however, that wasn't reported anywhere, until now.

"Following her arrest, Dana Bazelon successfully completed ARD conditions requested by the Commonwealth, including participating in parenting counseling and remaining arrest-free for six months," an official spokesman for the attorney general's office said. "As a result, the Commonwealth withdrew the charges against her today."

So the D.A. is batting .5000 when it comes to beating the rap for staffers who got arrested last year. 

You have to wonder, however, is that a district attorney's office that Larry Krasner's running over at 3 South Penn Square, or is it a halfway house?

3 comments

  1. It’s all politics. No Surprise here. They’re all in bed together.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is absolutely crazy! Both of these cases should be unacceptable in an office of the law! Disgusting!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. We need to remember this lack of prosecution when Shapiro runs for governor. Shows clearly that they are all on the same crooked team.
    More so, the fact that both were not fired (because they were not convicted) makes a mockery of sex trafficking and child neglect/abuse.
    I moved out of Krasnerland a few years ago, but this nonsense is more reason why my folks will be sure to vote Vega!

    ReplyDelete

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