Swift justice for shooter caught in act of burglary - Omaha.com
Published Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 12:30 am / Updated at 12:26 am
Swift justice for shooter caught in act of burglary

Guilty. Life sentence.

It was a swift, fitting end for the man convicted of executing Richard G. Harrison during a burglary at the Harrison family home near 58th Street and Grand Avenue, the victim’s parents said.

A jury deliberated just 90 minutes Friday before finding Endre Turner, 24, guilty of first-degree murder and weapon use.

Then, in a rare move, Douglas County District Judge James Gleason proceeded directly to sentencing — imposing the automatic life term that goes with a first-degree murder conviction.

In doing so, both Turner and his attorney, Assistant Public Defender Doug Johnson, said they were all right with bypassing the presentence investigation that typically results in a six- to eight-week delay.

Jenice Harrison and Richard K. Harrison were just fine with it, too.

The two, flanked by several family members, sat through every day of the trial and listened to the details of the savage killing of their only son — a 21-year-old man they described as a peacemaker and prankster.

“We weren’t out for vengeance,” said Jenice Harrison. “We were just out for justice.

“It’s been a long process but it’s done. There’s a period now.”

Sort of. Both parents said their hearts will never be whole without their son.

He was born prematurely in March 1990, and the couple had prayed and stayed by their baby’s side as a ventilator breathed for him. Despite concern that he might have lingering physical problems, Harrison grew into a happy, healthy child. A Boy Scout. Church choir member. Football player.

“A wonderful son,” said his father.

Jenice Harrison nodded her head.

“A goofball, too,” she said.

The couple laughed at how Harrison, then a junior at Omaha Central, spent one school day dressed in a Batman suit. His best friend begged him to lose the suit because of the effect it might have on their credibility with girls. But Harrison stayed in character.

The reason he chose Batman: He was the superhero whose primary superpower was his wit.

Their son had it. After graduating from Central in 2008, he went to the University of Nebraska at Omaha on a scholarship before transferring to Metropolitan Community College to study graphic arts. An avid gamer, he had hoped to design backgrounds for video games.

Coincidentally, Harrison had been introduced to Turner a few weeks before the slaying. In his confession, Turner said he killed Harrison because he had caught him in the act — and had surprised him by calling out to Turner by his nickname, “Blake.”

At the time, Turner had just gotten out of prison on a burglary conviction. He and his wife, Jasmine, later pawned Harrison’s PlayStation 3 — a move that prompted Omaha police to zero in on Turner.

After police confronted Turner, he handed over Harrison’s phone. On Harrison’s phone: videos that Turner had taken of himself having sex with Jasmine Turner.

The Turners married one day after Harrison’s murder.

Prosecutors Tom McKenney and Jennifer Meckna said there were no words to describe how callous and coldblooded Turner was.

The Harrisons thanked firefighters for trying to save their son’s life and prosecutors and Omaha police for securing Turner’s conviction.

After the verdict, 10 family members embraced in long hugs in a courthouse hallway.

Richard Harrison — who traveled to Omaha for the trial from his new home in Charlotte, N.C. — said his son’s favorite holiday was Thanksgiving, not because of the fixings but because of family. The fourth-generation Richard Harrison thrived on hanging out with his family.

“We miss him so much but he’s still alive — right here,” said the elder Harrison, patting his heart. “That wasn’t taken. That will never be taken.”

Jenice Harrison said it took her a year to return to the house she once shared with her son. And to this day, she said, she can’t wrap her mind around why Turner killed Harrison over a phone and a $75 PlayStation.

“He was my one irreplaceable in that house — the one thing that insurance didn’t cover,” Jenice said. “When I went back to the house, I said, ‘I’m not ready to let you go, Richard. I need one more text, one more hug … one more kiss … one more time hearing the sound of your voice.’”

Contact the writer: Todd Cooper

todd.cooper@owh.com    |   402-444-1275

Todd covers courts and legal issues for The World-Herald.

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