NewsCrime CheckerBaltimore County Crime


Suspect in officer's killing awol a week before she was killed

Court documents detail timeline
Posted: 7:04 PM, May 23, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-23 19:07:53-04

After Baltimore County authorities say 16-year-old Dawnta Harris stole four cars in almost as many months, the teen was scheduled for a sentencing in Baltimore on April 16th.

Harris was a no show and one day later was picked up and ordered detained in the Baltimore City Juvenile Detention Center.

According to juvenile court records obtained by WMAR 2 News, Harris remained there until May 10th when in a hearing in which the department of juvenile services says it was not present, it was determined Harris should be released, sent back to his mother's home in Gilmor Homes, West Baltimore on electronic monitoring.

Almost immediately, court records show Harris was noncompliant.

Beginning on May 14th, Harris skips home and school and goes awol.

Despite five efforts of what Department of Juvenile Services calls re-engaging with the teen over the next two days, Harris remains off the grid resulting in a memo detailing his violations and then the scheduling of a hearing last Friday.

In that delinquency hearing according to documents, Harris' mother, the public defender and the city assistant state's attorney were all present.

But instead of ordering Harris to be picked up and detained after a week of being awol, the court noting that the teenager was not present, simply reset the matter for the following Tuesday.

It was on that Monday, three days ago that Baltimore County Police say Harris finally turns up in Perry Hall in that stolen jeep and is now accused of running over officer Amy Caprio.

Still, during the alleged burglaries and homicide, representatives from DJS and Harris' mother were continuing to locate him.

According to the very last addendum to his juvenile case that WMAR also obtained on the day of the murder, his mother called her teen one last time to no avail, texting DJS, "Hello again. I called, it's just ringing."           

"We have a 16-year-old who has caused the death of one of our police officers,” Baltimore County Chief Terrance Sheridan said, “Did the system not work, it sounds like it could have worked better in the particular case. This 16-year-old perhaps shouldn’t have been out."

And now there is an effort to figure out exactly who argued for or didn't argue against taking Harris into custody and how the judge ruled.

The Department of Juvenile Services is in the process of requesting court transcripts to see exactly how Harris was able to evade supervision and remain in the community.

When Harris was arrested Monday, police say he still had the bracelet on his ankle.

DJS says it offers two types, one that is GPS enabled and another that is not and that it is up the judge’s discretion which bracelet to use.

In Harris' case, his was not GPS enabled.