The jury is deliberating after lawyers presented their closing arguments in the trial of Mark Harrison, the sixth day of what was expected to be a six day trial in Riley County District Court.
Harrison, a 38-year-old Manhattan engineer, is charged with three counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer after a standoff that resulted in RCPD Sgt. Pat Tiede being shot in the leg in January 2018.
The jury went to lunch and then will discuss the evidence and come to a verdict or guilty or not guilty on the four charges. They could find Harrison guilty on all counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, or they could find him guilty of a lesser offense included within the charge. If they find Harrison had intent to kill, but did not premeditate his attack, then they could find him guilty of attempted murder in the second degree. If they find Harrison had intent, but acted in the heat of passion, they could find him guilty of attempted voluntary manslaughter.
Riley County District Attorney Barry Wilkerson called on jurors to find Harrison guilty on all charges, saying to think about what was in his mind when he fired. He pointed to a lack of provocation before Harrison fired and his repeated threats to officers as signs of Harrison’s intent to kill. Wilkerson played multiple clips of Harrison making the threats to officers while speaking on the phone with negotiators.
“Bluster?” asked Wilkerson. “Or evidence of intent and premeditation?”
Wilkerson also says the shots Harrison aimed at Tiede’s cruiser would have been head shots had he been occupying it, and that shots aimed at the armored vehicle that eventually arrived would have been directed right at the Geary County SWAT officers sitting inside it.
Defense attorney Barry Clark says that Harrison never directed a shot at an unguarded officer and never meant to kill anyone — only intending to scare them off by shooting Tiede’s cruiser and the armored vehicle. He also says the state has failed to show that Harrison had intent or had premeditated his attack and that his threats were empty.
“This is a classic spontaneous act,” Clark says, who also pointed to the numerous stressors Harrison was experiencing in his life.
Clark says that both sides’ experts agree the bullet was a ricochet and that investigators rushed to judgment based on the initial account of how Tiede was shot, which was shown to be incorrect on review of Tiede’s body camera footage. He also says that the prosecution’s expert’s report was based in “junk science.”
Clark says the only thing the state proved well was criminal property damage by Harrison.