A federal court judge in New Bern has denied the continuance of a case involving a Roanoke Rapids man charged in Northampton County crimes based on the defendant’s letter requesting a speedy trial and that he has been in custody for more than four years.
In a text order regarding the case of Michael Christopher Harris, District Judge Louise Wood Flanagan, wrote, “Under the circumstances, counsel’s request now for a modest time extension to July 25, 2022, or August 1, 2022, sounds more as a motion made for convenience than one of necessity.”
Flanagan wrote in the text order that “nothing new regarding communication issues concerning (the case) is presented. The case (has long) been pending.”
She also said other cases have been excluded for the week of July 11 and a trial in another criminal matter is set before the court on July 25. The court is unavailable the week of August 1. “The interests of justice, both the public's right to a speedy trial and the right of the defendant, who complains in (a) letter to this court also filed April 21, 2022, of the length of time he's been incarcerated, warrant denial of the motion.”
In the letter to the judge, which is contained in the court file, Harris said, “I have been incarcerated for almost 4 1/2 years. During this case I was shot three times.”
Harris contends he was framed and says his case report would bolster his contention. “I have been set up while the real shooters are still out there. My motion of discovery shows proof of wrongful doing but I’m being held for no reason.”
He said the case is based on him inquiring about money he was owed. “I own a mom and pop clothing store but I work hard for my money and loaned money to the young men and they wouldn’t pay. My attorney knows it’s foul play but refuses to apply pressure.”
Harris also said he needs medical attention that he didn’t get after the shooting. “Please take my case (into) consideration.”
In February Harris pleaded not guilty to the two counts lodged against him — a charge that he possessed ammunition while previously being convicted of a crime on November 21 of 2018 and the second that he possessed a firearm and ammo around April 3 of 2019.
The federal indictment warrants stem from two separate shooting investigations that took place in Northampton County on November 21 of 2018 and April 3 of 2019.