Allegan, MI – March 30, 2011 – The jury began hearing the case of 50 year old convicted felon Frederick Joseph Harris Jr. who was arrested on September 2009 and charged with 12 felonies related to attempted repossession of his 2008 Chevy Silverado pick up. If convicted, Harris could spend the rest of his life in Prison.
The trial began with Assistant DA Daniel Norbeck’s opening statements which described the events of that early morning when Bobby Joe Felty, 36, and his nephew Brandon James Beardsley, 24 while working and assignment for his Grand Rapids, MI based company arrived at the Cheshire Township defendants residence on 4129 106th Ave. and were greeted by the defendant with a rifle. According to the Assistant DA’s statement, Felty advised Harris of his assignment and attempted to provide him a copy of the repossession assignment when Harris responded by raising his gun and asking if they wanted to die.
Convicted felon Harris is charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, two counts of using a firearm to commit a felony and four counts of assault with intent to do great bodily harm.
Harris’ attorney, Jeff Schroder, countered with his opening statement by telling the jury, “I’m going to ask you to do something that might be difficult. I’m going to ask you to remember everything the prosecutor just said to you. Because I believe everything he said will not be supported at the end of the case. It’s my belief that the lack of evidence at the end of this case will cause you to have reasonable doubt.”
First to testify was Felty who described how he and his nephew had driven past Harris’ residence in the afternoon unable to locate the truck at that time. He testified how they had decided to go back early on Sept. 3rd, on their way back from other repossession assignments. Having then spotted the truck parked next to a white Pontiac Bonneville, Felty told how he had backed his repo truck back into the subject vehicle and got out of the truck to secure the truck when he noticed someone moving about in the residence.
Felty testified that Harris came out with a rifle raised and stated “we weren’t leaving there that night.” Felty later stated that he could quite remember the exact lines of threats Harris made but that when he tried to strap the subject repossessed truck down, Harris pointed the gun at him. Felty reported that he ducked down behind the bed of the truck, got into the truck and fled.
Soon after, he claims the saw a Pontiac Bonneville similar to the one in Harris’s driveway following them. He reported that when the Pontiac got close, that was when they heard a loud “pop.”
Felty testified “I said ‘What was that?’ to which his nephew, Beardsley said ‘He’s shooting at us.” This was when Beardsley reportedly called 911. Felty claimed he was sure of the sound of a .22 rifle from his experience as a hunter.
Reportedly, when a second shot was fired, the tow truck began to drive unusually as the tire on the subject vehicle had gone flat. It was at this point Felty reported that he began taking evasive action by swerving from side to side on the road to keep the Pontiac from getting alongside out of fear of taking direct fire from the side or being forced into an accident.
He testified that after some time, the Bonneville backed off and stopped following them until they met police responding to the call.
Police later went to Harris’ home where they found the weapon and Harris was arrested. At the time of arrest, Harris reportedly also had a charge dating from 1988 for escaping authorities, and felony weapons possession charges from 1996, according to state records.