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Judge upholds Harris' double 25-year sentences

Monday, December 28, 2009 | 6:25 p.m. CST; updated 2:01 p.m. CST, Tuesday, December 29, 2009

COLUMBIA — In a final disposition sentencing hearing, a judge decided to sentence Antoine Harris to a total of 25 years for his involvement in the 2008 slaying of Antonio Flores-Ramirez.

Harris, 32, was sentenced Monday afternoon to 25 years for second-degree murder and 25 years for first-degree assault to be served concurrently — minimized sentences that were the result of a plea bargain to testify against co-defendant Clyde Hyler III.

According to previous Missourian reports, on Aug. 21, 2008, Harris and Hyler, of Columbia, killed Flores-Ramirez and wounded another man as the result of a drug set-up in which the victims were to be robbed. Police said Flores-Ramirez and Javier Perdoza, 23, thought they were going to buy drugs from Hyler.

The bargain with Boone County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Steven Berry dropped the additional charges against Harris, which included two counts of armed criminal action and theft.

Berry called two witnesses to testify in the hearing, Chazare and Trayton Wiyrick, 11 and 10 respectively, both sons of Flores-Ramirez.

"He may not have been a perfect dad, but he loved me and that's all that matters," Chazare said. "I can't change the fact that my dad's dead, but I do know I can have justice for his murder."

Berry recommended 25 years to be served for both charges against Harris. "He did assist with our case against his co-defendant (Hyler), and that was taken into account for the sentence recommendation," he said.

Hyler's final sentencing disposition was held in November; he was sentenced to 14 years for voluntary manslaughter and six years for theft, according to Case.net.

Nick Zotos, Harris' attorney, asked the court to lessen the sentence for both charges to 20 years to run concurrently.

Although Harris shot the gun that killed Flores-Ramirez, both men were culpable, Zotos said. "Mr. Hyler arranged it and provided the weapon," he said. "He will see the doors of freedom a lot sooner than Mr. Harris."

Harris addressed the victim's family and his own before 13th Circuit Judge Kevin Crane decided his sentence.

Wiping tears from his eyes, he struggled to read the sheet of paper with cuffed hands.

"I didn't expect two children to testify; I didn't know he had kids. I didn't know him," Harris said. "I ask for God's forgiveness because I don't want to go to Hell."

 

 


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