Defense claims ‘character assassination’ in SWAT shooting case

tyler harrell sentencing7

Prior to a jury starting the sentencing phase in Tyler Harrell’s case, his defense attorneys and prosecutors spent a couple of hours going over what evidence they wanted the judge to allow for arguments and sentencing.

The situation became heated as prosecutors presented Snapchats obtained from Harrell’s cell phone showing drugs, cash and guns. Prosecutors say Harrell was flaunting and the videos prove he was dealing drugs. The defense, however, argued the prosecution can’t prove what was shown was actually drugs and can’t prove whether a crime was committed in any of the videos.

The defense told the judge they don’t want the jury to be misled by a “character assassination” from the state. The defense also wanted the judge to suppress the text messages Harrell sent, but the judge ended up allowing it. The judge also allowed some of the videos in as evidence.

The jury was brought in for the sentencing phase around 10:30 a.m. 

On Monday, the jury found Harrell not guilty of attempted capital murder but ended up finding him guilty on a lesser charge of aggravated assault. Harrell opened fire on a SWAT team serving a warrant at his home. One officer was shot in the knee. 

Harrell told authorities he did not know the people coming inside his home were officers. Harrell’s mother said once she realized it was the police, she “yelled at Tyler to stop firing because it was the police.”

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