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Family of mentally incompetent man jailed for 11 years reaches settlement with officials

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The family of a murder suspect has agreed to a settlement after 37-year-old Steven Jessie Harris served 11 years in prison.

Harris’ sister-in-law previously filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, accusing several officials in Clay County of violating his rights following his arrest in 2005.

According to Clay County police, Harris was taken into custody after reportedly killing his father, 72-year-old Malichi Randle, before opening fire with a .22 rifle at a Sonic Drive-In in West Point. Harris then stabbed a Mississippi State student and carjacked their vehicle, which contained a female passenger. Once police arrived, Harris traveled down the highway in the stolen car before shooting and injuring three officers.

A year after his arrest, Harris was indicted for murder, three counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, two counts of armed robbery, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of aggravated assault, and one count of shooting into a vehicle.

In 2007, Harris was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the State Hospital at Whitfield and found incompetent to stand on trial one year later, but continued to be held at the Clay County Detention Center for over a decade.

Prior to his charges being dismissed in 2017 due to his mental diagnosis, Harris was not given a trial throughout his 11 years in jail.

Since then, Harris’ relatives have demanded to be paid $11 million for the years he spent in prison despite his diagnosis. Those named in the lawsuit include Clay County, two sheriffs, a former district attorney, and three state court judges.

At this time, the monetary number reached in the settlement has not yet been released.

Attorney Carlos Moore is currently representing Harris.

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