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Joseph Harris Murder Trial on Hold - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Joseph Harris Murder Trial on Hold

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A bizarre twist in the Joseph Harris murder case has put the trial on hold. The case will now have to wait for more than a month.

Due to a ruling concerning an alleged confession tape, the defense has asked for a continuance.  The trial will begin again at the end of November, which means the same jury will come back to pick up where things left off. 

Harris is accused of killing Anthony Lorenzo Johnson on Pantops Mountain in 2005. He is facing six felony charges including first-degree murder and robbery. A woman walking her dog found his body in a gravel parking lot on Free Bridge Lane near Darden Towe Park on February 21, 2005.  He was face down with a gunshot wound to his head.

The trial started Monday in Albemarle County Circuit Court.  A portion of the commonwealth's case relies heavily on jailhouse informants that claim Harris confessed to the murder.  One informant apparently taped a conversation where Harris said, "I got one body.  I shot him in the (obscenity)."

Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Higgins had ruled - in writing - that the tape couldn't be used unless the defense put Harris on the stand.  She changed that decision Tuesday morning, allowing the commonwealth to use the tape at any point.  The defense then asked for a continuance until the end of next month.

The trial was expected to last five days, and had already been continued twice. 

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