Man appeals life sentence for murder of Baltimore County’s Amy Caprio – CBS Baltimore

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) – The Maryland Supreme Court on Thursday heard arguments for an appeal against the conviction of Dawnta Harris, who was sentenced to life in prison for the 17-year-old murder of Baltimore County police officer Amy Caprio.

In May 2018, Officer Caprio responded to a 911 call about a burglary in the Perry Hall neighborhood. Prosecutors said three teenagers broke into a home on Linwen Way while Harris waited outside in a getaway car, a stolen Jeep Wrangler.

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Investigators said Officer Caprio used her squad car to partially block the cul-de-sac and then asked 16-year-old Harris to get out of the vehicle, but he refused.

Police camera video showed the officer then drawing her gun, pointing it at the driver and again telling Harris to get out of the jeep. Then the teenager accelerated and ran her over. Caprio fired a shot that hit the windshield.

She later died in hospital.

In May 2019, just under a year after the fatal encounter, Harris was convicted of murder, first-degree burglary at the Linwen Way home and theft of the Jeep. The other three teenagers pleaded guilty to murder in June 2019.

Harris was sentenced to life imprisonment in August 2019.

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Seven Maryland Circuit Court of Appeals judges heard hearings on Harris’ appeal to set aside his conviction. Two main points were used.

First, the appeal argues that Harris’ youth was not given due consideration when he was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. It states that this includes the developmental and cognitive differences between juveniles and adults and the “diminished criminal responsibility of a juvenile offender”.

The argument goes that without considering these factors, life imprisonment is an “unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment” that violates the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution and Article 25 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights.

Second, the appeal argues that the law used to convict Harris should not have been felony murder. The applicant believes that the Vehicle Manslaughter Act precludes a charge of criminal homicide where a motor vehicle is involved.

The state asked the judges to uphold the original findings in the case and the conviction.

A spokesman for the Maryland Court of Appeals said there was no specific timeframe when comment on the appeal could be made. However, opinions are usually completed within the tenure of the court of appeals during which oral arguments have been heard.

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The conditions are from September to June every year. All reports must be completed by August 31st.

https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/03/03/man-appeals-life-sentence-in-killing-of-baltimore-county-officer-amy-caprio/ Man appeals life sentence for murder of Baltimore County’s Amy Caprio – CBS Baltimore

Jake Nichol

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