Plea change in Columbia murder case

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – One of two men charged in the 2008 murder of a 29-year-old Columbia man changed his plea to guilty Monday in the 13th Circuit Court for Boone County.

Antoine Harris, 32, of Columbia, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree assault. He was originally charged with those two crimes in addition to first-degree robbery and three counts of armed criminal action.

Boone County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Steven Berry said Harris will receive two 25-year sentences for the murder and assault charges, to be served concurrently.

Harris, along with Clyde Hyler III, 22, of Columbia, was charged in the shooting death of Antonio Flores-Ramirez, also of Columbia.

Hyler has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He is scheduled to appear for an 11 a.m. hearing Wednesday in the Circuit Court.

According to previous Missourian reports, on the day of the shooting, Flores-Ramirez and Javier Perdoza thought they were going to buy marijuana from Harris and Hyler but were robbed instead, Columbia Police Capt. Brad Nelson said at the time.

Flores-Ramirez was found shot to death on Quail Drive, and Perdoza was found in a nearby apartment shot in the chest. Perdoza survived. Both men were citizens of Mexico.

According to the probable cause statement, no marijuana was found in Harris' possession on the night of his arrest. Instead, police discovered a small "two by two inch shaped substance of what, at first glance, appeared to be marijuana." The statement says that police later determined the substance to be alfalfa squares, commonly used for rabbit food.


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