Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jury to Begin Deliberations in Dismemberment Case

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jury to Begin Deliberations in Dismemberment Case

Article excerpt

Defense attorney Carrie Allman made her case to the jury Monday by blaming the stabbing deaths and dismemberment of a Penn Hills couple on the defendant's sister.

Frederick Harris III, 49, is accused of killing his mother, Olivia Gilbert, 73, and her husband, Lamar Gilbert, 76, on Dec. 13, 2014, in their home. Three days later, police were called by Mr. Harris' sister, Angela, who said she'd become concerned when her mother didn't return her calls. Police met Angela at the home on Sunset Drive. They found Mr. Harris breathing but unresponsive in his mother's bed, curled up under a comforter.

The couple's bodies, which had been dismembered, were found in six garbage cans in the garage.

Mr. Harris' trial on charges of homicide and abuse of a corpse began on Wednesday before Common Pleas Judge Kevin G. Sasinoski. The jury, which heard closing arguments Monday afternoon, will begin deliberating this morning.

During her closing, Ms. Allman reminded the jury that the prosecution failed to present any motive for the crimes, and instead focused on the gruesome nature of it.

"The terribleness of the crime alone doesn't let you use your emotions in deciding this case," she said.

Ms. Allman then focused on evidence presented at trial that Angela Harris has a history of strangling two cats when she was not properly taking her medication for mental illness, expanding on a suggestion she'd made in her opening arguments.

"I don't say this to you to be sensational," she said. "I don't say this to you to degrade the mental health issues that Ms. Harris has. I say it to you because it's relevant."

Strangling a cat, which would struggle and fight back, would be difficult, Ms. Allman continued.

"That is a violent act, and she has done it on more than one occasion."

Ms. Allman said that Angela Harris called police to the home on purpose that day. …

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