Thursday, January 18, 2007

Man indicted in the shooting of two police officers had an IQ of 57

Matt Gryta:

Suspect Varner Harris Jr.

Varner Harris Jr., indicted Tuesday in the shooting of two Buffalo police officers, registered 57 on an IQ test administered four years ago, his lawyer confirmed.
Harris took the test in 2003, defense attorney Paul Gordon Dell said. The average on such a test typically is around 100. Dell said he anticipates obtaining records showing his client has been diagnosed as "emotionally disturbed" for years.

Dell entered a not-guilty plea on Harris' behalf to an 11-count indictment charging him with two counts of attempted aggravated murder, a relatively new charge linked to attacks on police, and other charges that could bring a term of 80 years to life.

State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang ordered Harris held without bail.

Prosecutor Christopher J. Belling told the judge authorities have a "signed, sworn confession" from Harris in the Dec. 5 shootings of still-paralyzed Officer Patricia A. Parete and Officer Carl E. Andolina. Wolfgang said that "under no circumstances will he be allowed to post bail."

Harris, 19, also was indicted on four counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of aggravated assault on a police officer.

The grand jury also charged Harris with single counts of attempted aggravated assault on a police officer, first and second-degree assault and a weapons count.

Belling told the judge prosecutors are "ready for trial," and he objected to Dell's efforts to get the judge to set bail.

The prosecutor called Harris "a terrible bail risk" and stressed the pending probation violation charge he faces for his role in the armed robbery of a Buffalo pizza deliveryman two years ago.

After the arraignment, Dell confirmed he did not allow Harris to testify before the grand jury, adding that he is in the process of obtaining psychiatric and school records of Harris.

Dell said that Harris' former teachers with whom he has spoken have described him as a "quiet, responsible, hardworking student" and that he had been "doing well" on the probation he was granted in the deliveryman stickup.

Harris' involvement in the police officers' shootings "has come as a complete surprise to everybody" who knows him, Dell said.

Parete, the first female officer shot in the line of duty in Buffalo, was flown to a New Jersey rehabilitation center Monday as she fights to regain feeling and movement in her body. She and Andolina were shot at close range after responding to a report about a fight on Elmwood Avenue near West Chippewa Street at about 9 p.m. Dec. 5.

Man accused of shooting police officers faces new charges

Wounded officer may move to rehab center

Parete due at noted rehab center

Wounded officer may be paralyzed

Sometimes this stuff just writes itself

Media Excuse For Violent Behavior



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