BINGHAMTON, NY – Career criminal Larry Harris, Junior will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing and raping children.
Cruel, evil, wicked.
All words used to describe Larry Harris as prosecutors sought the maximum sentence.
Harris was convicted of manslaughter in the asphyxiation death of 11 year-old Jerome Smith in Johnson City in February 2019.
He was convicted of of Predatory Sexual Assault Against a Child for repeatedly and systematically raping a young girl over the course of years beginning when she was 11 years-old.
And he plead guilty to a cocaine charge following a drug bust that took place a little over a month after Smith’s death.
Broome County Court Judge Joe Cawley says Harris left a path of destruction dating back to a conviction for rape at age 15 and a pair of robbereies when he was 19.
“In this court’s opinion, Mr. Harris, based upon your conduct, based upon your criminal convictions, you have now forfeited the right to ever walk the streets of this or any other community as a free man,” says Cawley.
Cawley sentenced Harris to serve his sentences consecutively, adding up to a total of 79 years to life in prison.
Harris remained unrepentant, continuing to proclaim his innocence of the rape and manslaughter charges.
He sought to place blame on Smith’s mother, saying he loved the boy beyond measure.
“I created these situations by putting myself in these situations and I’m not mad at you judge, I’m not mad at the District Attorney, I’m not mad at my lawyer, I’m mad at myself more so than anything. And I can take whatever’s going to come my way. But, I did not kill little Jerome and I want the world to know that. And I’m going to go to my grave screaming that,” says Harris.
The woman who Harris raped as a child made a passionate speech to the court, calling Harris a manipulative, disgusting, evil person.
During his lengthy address to the judge, Senior Assistant District Attorney Anthony Frank admitted that there were a couple of times when he got emotional while prosecuting his first homicide case.
Once was when the coroner described how Smith likely died.
“It would have taken 4 minutes for this little boy to be killed, and you think about someone holding you for 4 minutes, where you can’t breathe and you’re a little kid and what must have been going through that kid’s mind at that time, I was overtaken,” says Senior ADA Anthony Frank.
Frank says he was also disturbed by photos of Smith taken the day before his death after he revealed to teachers in Johnson City the abuse he was suffering at the hands of Harris.
Frank says the photos show bruises all over Smith’s face, yet his expression suggested that it was something he was accustomed to.
Prosecutors believe Smith’s death stemmed from Harris’s rage after the boy reported the abuse.
Over the past 31 years, Harris was arrested 12 times, convicted on 9 charges and had already spent over 20 years incarcerated.