Closing arguments in the Neil Harris murder trial

The crown prosecutor laid out for the jury exactly why he believes they should convict Odain Gardner and Erick Reid for the first-degree murder of Neil Harris.

Fear has infected this trial like a virus, Crown Andrew Mclean began. Imagine the fear Neil Harris felt, running for his life, not getting very far. He said the accused, Odain Gardner and Erick Reid, used fear as a weapon to escape justice, keeping others from naming them and keeping Reid, who testified, from naming the shooter.

The shooter was clearly Odain Gardner, the crown said. Different witnesses, unknown to each other, agreed. Erick Reid did not just go to the barbershop to meet someone for marijuana and maybe get a haircut.

Cell phone records show the two accused planned the murder and travelled to the barbershop to carry out the plan, he said. They both then returned to their drug-den hangout, known in this trial as “the office.” For seven days after the murder they had phone contact and then they stopped talking.

On the day police seized the hoodie Erick Reid wore during the murder and left at ‘the office’ after, traces of blood and Neil Harris’ t-shirt fibres were on the hoodie. This was no robbery, the crown said. Harris had about $650 in his pocket.

The real story came from the witness sitting on the couch, he knew the two accused and recognized them. He said Reid approached him and told him to keep his head down, while Gardner approached Neil Harris at the barber chair. Harris ran for the door and Gardner fired. The bullet went through Harris’ right side, ricocheted off the wall leaving a casing and landing in a flower pot by the door.

Harris continued to stumble through the door. Gardner tried to fire again but his gun jammed and that made him angry. Reid followed Harris out and tussled with him, as witnesses observed, then the two accused ran away while Harris lay dying on the sidewalk.

The jury is expected to begin deliberations Wednesday.


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