On Friday, a Houston County jury decided that Mario Harris was not guilty of murdering Stephen Register outside a Warner Robins Buffalo’s in December of 2007. The defense argued that Harris was acting in self-defense when he stabbed and killed Register.
The Macon Telegraph has the story.
Harris was facing charges of malice murder, felony murder, possession of a knife during the commission of a crime, aggravated assault and manslaughter. The charges stemmed from an incident in which Harris unexpectedly met his half-sister and the man she was dating inside the restaurant. Moments later the boyfriend and two other men, including Register, charged Harris in the parking lot. Harris testified that he stabbed Register because he feared that the men were going to kill him. He also told jurors that he thought one of the men may have had a gun. Register received a single stab wound just below the chest and died six hours later at the hospital.
The jury deliberated for only 30 minutes before deciding to find Harris not guilty on all counts. The jury later told the attorneys that there was simply no evidence to prove that Harris was the initial aggressor. Under Georgia law, malice murder generally carries a sentence of imprisonment for life, or in the alternative, the prosecutor may choose to seek the death penalty. Frank Hogue was the defense lawyer and did an outstanding job representing his client.
Our criminal defense attorneys have won many acquittals and dismissals for clients charged with serious violent crimes including murder, aggravated assault and manslaughter. As seen in this case, murder and violent crime charges are often levied against people who were simply defending themselves or others. Under Georgia law, a successful self-defense claim will justify any death or harm that the defendant may have caused. To prove self-defense, a good criminal defense attorney will conduct an independent and in-depth investigation which may include interviewing all relevant witnesses, examining physical evidence and retaining qualified medical and psychological experts.
Pate & Brody is an accomplished Georgia law firm with offices in Atlanta, Macon and Madison. Our lawyers are dedicated to pursuing justice for people charged with serious crimes. We have successfully represented clients facing serious federal criminal charges and state criminal charges in courts across Georgia. Our lawyers have been recognized on the list of Georgia’s “Super Lawyers”, and included among Georgia’s “Legal Elite” by Georgia Trend Magazine. Page Pate was recently the Chairman of the Criminal Law Section of the Atlanta Bar Association.
Page Pate is an accomplished trial lawyer with over 25 years of experience in criminal defense, civil litigation, and whistleblower representation. Page is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Top 100 Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers, and named to the list of Super Lawyers for the past 15 consecutive years. Page is a frequent expert legal analyst for local and national media and has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Georgia Law School. Read Page’s reviews on AVVO. Follow Page on Twitter @pagepate and on Linkedin.