FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — During a phone call from the jail, the defendant guided his girlfriend in between houses on Rudisill Boulevard so she could find the alleged murder weapon.
For her part in obstructing the investigation of a murder case against Isaac Martin, Jr., Teara R. Harris, 32, was charged with assisting a criminal (who) committed murder and false informing.
On Friday in Allen Superior Court, she pleaded guilty to the assisting charge and was given pre-trial diversion for five years. In exchange, Harris must also testify in Martin’s trial scheduled for June and cooperate with the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office. The misdemeanor false informing charge was dismissed as part of the plea deal.
Harris, who lives in Huntington, according to court documents, is accused of meeting one of Martin’s friends who gave her a gun wrapped in a T-shirt that she handed over to another witness. He told her he would “’handle it,” according to a probable cause affidavit written by homicide detective Aaron Johnson.
Martin, now 30, is charged with the June 12 shooting death of Dequavius Devonte Tyler, 27, just after 5:15 a.m. Tyler was found with multiple gunshot wounds to his chest and legs and was pronounced dead at a local hospital around 8 a.m. the same day.
Court documents say Tyler was shot outside a home on Oliver Street, where another man was shot at the same time but survived. That surviving victim told police he had invited a lot of people to his home for an after party. When he was trying to stop an argument with a guest, he said he felt pain as he pushed the guy back and realized he’d been shot. He turned to try to run away and felt himself collapse on the ground. As he was trying to pull himself underneath a car, other people dragged him to his car and helped him get in. His brother drove him to Parkview Hospital, he said.
It’s unclear if anyone has been charged in his shooting.
It was later that day that phone calls from the jail were interceded and police heard Martin, held on a resisting charge for fleeing police, tell Harris that the gun was located at a specific home on Rudisill Boulevard with a big green bush that “needs to be trimmed.” In one call from the jail, Martin told Harris to check the alley behind Rudisill Boulevard. Later she advised him “Say less, everything all good.”
When police informed her they listened in on the calls, she said she met a man around 6 or 7 p.m. on the same day as the shooting. The man gave her a gun wrapped in a T-shirt and she took the gun to her cousin who said he’d “handle it.”
Police went to the specified home on Rudisill Boulevard and were told by the homeowner that police “probably wouldn’t find what (they) were looking for because people were there the previous day looking through his yard.”
A man who said he met Harris on Rudisill Boulevard to look for the gun said the gun was found in the bushes by Martin’s cousin. The gun was empty without a clip and that Martin’s cousin got the gun off Harris.
Police attempted to find Harris at her home and eventually pulled her over in a traffic stop after she parked her black 2003 Mercedes a block away from her home. She was taken into police headquarters for an interview and requested an attorney.
In court, she said Martin was her boyfriend and that she helped hide the gun, although she told her story reluctantly, relying on prompts from Magistrate Sam Keirns who called her “the middleman” who “moved this gun around from person to person.”
In August, lab results from the Indiana State Police Laboratory indicated that 21 of the cartridge cases were fired from same firearm and 18 of those cartridge cases were 9mm Sig Sauer.
There’s no indication that the firearm was located.
Harris’s attorney, Sam Bolinger, said Harris was a nice woman with a nice car and a job who made a bad choice.
She will be on pre-trial diversion for the next five years.