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Jury finds pimp guilty in Vegas Strip shooting case

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Ammar Harris appears in court on Oct. 12 in Las Vegas.
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LAS VEGAS » A self-styled pimp was found guilty on Monday of killing three people in a shooting and fiery crash on the Las Vegas Strip in February 2013.

Ammar Asim Faruq Harris sat still and gave no reaction as the verdicts were read in Clark County District Court.

The state court jury will now be asked to decide if should be put to death for murder in the carnage at the heart of the casino district.

Jurors heard a week of testimony from dozens of prosecution witnesses, but didn’t hear from Harris himself. He had pleaded not guilty to three murder, one attempted murder and seven discharge of a weapon charges.

The 29-year-old Harris has maintained through his lawyers that he was defending himself when he shot from a black Range Rover SUV into a Maserati, killing aspiring rapper Kenneth Wayne Cherry Jr., behind the wheel and wounding a passenger, Freddy Walters.

The sports car crashed into a taxi that ignited in a fireball, killing cab driver Michael Boldon and passenger Sandra Sutton-Wasmund of Maple Valley, Washington.

Five other people were injured in several other vehicles involved in chain-reaction crashes.

Prosecutors David Stanton and Pamela Weckerly cast Harris as a cold and calculating triple murderer.

Stanton suggested that Harris mistook Cherry for someone Harris argued with at a hip-hop concert at a rented nightclub in the posh Aria resort.

Video showed the Range Rover and Maserati jockeying for position in a tire-squealing chase between stoplights on neon-lit Las Vegas Boulevard.

Several angles showed apparent gunshots from the Range Rover before the flaming crash in front of the Caesars Palace and Flamingo resorts, and the black SUV sped away in the night.

Harris, who grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and lived in Miami, Atlanta and Las Vegas, was arrested a week later in Los Angeles.

Jurors heard a recorded jail telephone call in which Harris told a friend he thought someone was shooting at him.

But police didn’t find a weapon in the wrecked Maserati.

Jurors weren’t told that Harris was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to 16 years to life in prison for raping and robbing an 18-year-old woman at a Las Vegas condominium in June 2010. The case is being appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court.

The jury does know that Harris was convicted in South Carolina in 2004 of a felony weapon charge, and that he was convicted earlier this year of bribing a Nevada prison guard to smuggle cellphones, takeout chicken and vodka to him behind bars.

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