As the Supreme House of Representatives debates the possibility of naming a new judge, the Supreme Courts of New York and New Jersey are on the brink of taking a new trial for a couple who were charged with the killing of a New York City firefighter.
The two men, Joshua Harris and Anthony J. “Tony” Harris, were charged last week with the Feb. 28 death of Anthony J, a 33-year-old New York fireman.
Joshua Harris, 25, of East Hampton, was arraigned Thursday on a charge of second-degree murder in the killing, which prosecutors say occurred in the hours before Harris allegedly shot and killed Anthony J as he walked toward the firehouse.
The Harris family is seeking $100 million in damages from the state, alleging that the two men knew each other well and had a relationship that lasted for a number of months before the deadly confrontation.
The couple, who were in their 30s at the time of the incident, were on vacation in New Jersey when they were killed, the prosecutor’s office said in a news release.
Josh Harris’ attorney, Jonathan Tzortzis, said he believes the case against him is a sham.
Tzortzeris said the state’s lawyers are using the case as a pretext to avoid the trial date.
Josh and Anthony Harris were accused of killing Anthony J after he confronted Joshua Harris about his erratic behavior, Tzouris said.
The prosecutor’s statement was the first by the state in connection with the case.
Harris is charged with second- and third-degree criminal homicide, which carries a possible life sentence in prison.
Prosecutors say the couple planned to travel to New York to meet with a mutual acquaintance, but Harris instead drove to the Jersey Shore.
Joshua and Anthony had been drinking and having a loud argument that turned violent, according to prosecutors.
Joshua Harris left the house and Anthony left with Joshua Harris, the statement said.
A New York State Police officer stopped Anthony Harris on the New Jersey Turnpike on the afternoon of Feb. 14.
The officer observed Joshua Harris driving erratically, yelling at Anthony Harris, then driving off.
The two had a fight, and Joshua Harris hit Anthony Harris in the head with a tire iron, prosecutors said.
After the incident in New York, Joshua and Anthony were arrested in New England, where Anthony Harris was killed on the shore.
Josh’s attorneys had argued that his actions were self-defense.
The defense team has argued that Joshua Harris acted in self-defence because he was trying to protect himself and the family from the Harris family and was concerned for his safety.
Joshua has pleaded not guilty to second- degree murder charges in the death of his father, the Staten Island man who was killed by Joshua Harris on April 7, 2018.