Capital murder casecontinued
Westley Devone &uot;DJ&uot; Harris, the Crenshaw County man accused of the capital murder of six of his common-law wife's family members in Rutledge on Aug. 26-27, 2002, appeared in court Monday. His case has been continued, according to District Attorney John Andrews, to await further results from the Alabama State Department of Forensic Sciences.
&uot;It was the feeling of both sides, prosecution and defense, that the case needed to be continued until all of the results came back from the lab,&uot; Andrews said. &uot;Although technically it will probably be reflected as our motion.&uot;
Harris was taken into custody on Friday, Aug. 30, 2002, and formally charged the next day on six counts of first degree murder.
He has been in custody since that time; originally taken to the Lowndes County Detention Facility, he has since been transferred back to Crenshaw County.
&uot;We were granted a continuance until June 16, 2003, to allow more time to get the lab tests and analyses back, but there has been some talk that the defense team will ask for a change of venue,&uot; Andrews said. &uot;I don't feel that will be necessary, and will oppose any motion to move the trial n it is my belief that the citizens of Crenshaw County would be just as fair as any others on a jury panel, listening to all of the evidence and testimony presented, and making a fair judgement based on it.&uot;
Andrews said the case was widely publicized, including nationally-based news agencies. &uot;It received so much attention by the media that everyone everywhere has heard something about the case n that is one reason that details involving evidence and investigation are not arbitrarily released,&uot; Andrews said. &uot;Every citizen is entitled to fair and equal treatment. But there would be not difference in the trial being held in Crenshaw County or another location,&uot; he said.
Andrews said that he wanted to clear up one fact of the case that larger media publications have been distorting since the case began.
&uot;Since day one, the bigger newspapers and TV reporters have been saying that Janice Denise Ball, the 16-year-old daughter and sibling of the murdered victims, has been in custody' of the Department of Human Resources,&uot; Andrews said. &uot;That is just not true. Miss Ball is not a suspect in the case, but rather just a 16-year-old girl without a mother and father.
&uot;The fact remains that she is in the care of DHR' n she goes to school, visits with family members n again, she is not a suspect in the case,&uot; the DA for the Second Judicial Circuit said.
Ball, the mother of Harris' child, was with Harris when he was picked up. She and the child were unharmed.