Memphis man convicted of first degree murder of COGIC pastor - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis man convicted of first degree murder of COGIC pastor

(WMC-TV) - (WMC-TV) - A jury in Memphis returned a first degree murder verdict Friday in the trial of Andre Harris.   

Harris was on trial for the 2008 murder of COGIC pastor Ronald Paige.

In court Friday, prosecutor Nicole Germain demonstrated how Harris stabbed Paige repeatedly while he was lying in bed in his Raleigh apartment in 2008.

"That is premeditated first degree murder," she said.

Paige's relatives endured a week of gruesome testimony and crime scene photos.  

"It's been very draining on our family," one person said.

Paige's family had no sympathy for Harris, who testified that he acted in self defense fearing Paige was going to sexually attack him.

Defense attorneys argued Harris committed a crime of passion when he stabbed Paige 91 times, and bashed his head with a bottle 18 times. Public defender Michael Johnson urged jurors to reach a verdict of voluntary manslaughter.

"They have to prove to you murder in the first degree beyond a reasonable doubt, and I submit to you they cant do it," he said.

But relatives said Paige was a compassionate man who spent a lot of time helping homeless people. This time, they said, time he chose the wrong person to help.

"He's taken from me one of the most valuable gifts God gave me - my brother - and I will never have my brother again," they said.

After the guilty verdict was announced, Harris was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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