Johnson City man found guilty of manslaughter in the murder of his girlfriend’s son

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JOHNSON CITY, NY – A Johnson City man could spend 25 years in prison for killing his girlfriend’s 11 year-old son.

This morning, a Broome County jury found 46 year-old Larry Harris guilty of manslaughter in the death of Jerome Smith, Junior.

In February 2019, Smith’s mother Shakia Crute came home to their apartment at 87 Burbank Avenue in J-C and found the boy unresponsive.

Medical responders were unable to revive the 5th grader.

It was determined that Smith died of asphyxiation, although investigators were never able to proof exactly how Harris killed him.

Harris was also charged with murder, but the jury found him guilty of manslaughter instead.

District Attorney Mike Korchak praised the hard work of J-C Police, D-A investigators and the ADA’s that prosecuted the case.

“They worked this case from the very beginning and fought for justice. Justice for an innocent child who couldn’t fight for himself and, in the end, struggled to live but was overcome by the actions of the defendant, Larry Harris,” says Korchak.

“During the course of our investigation, we learned that Jerome was someone who was universally loved. He was someone who lit up the room every time he came in. His friends loved him, he loved to dance. He was a great dancer and he loved to rap. He loved watching YouTube and he was obsessed with Steph Curry,” says Senior Assistant to the DA Chris Ganz.

Crute was originally charged in Smith’s death but later plead guilty to making false and misleading statements and testified against Harris during the trial.

She still awaits sentencing.

Harris is also facing charges of predatory sexual assault against a child and rape involving a separate victim.

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