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Months after one acquittal, Dade City man charged in another murder

DADE CITY — Three months ago, Anthony Harris went to trial on a murder charge and beat it.

The 25-year-old was accused of gunning down a Dade City drug dealer last June, but a jury found him not guilty — a rare outcome in first-degree murder cases.

On Wednesday, authorities charged Harris with another homicide.

About 2 a.m. Aug. 4, 2007, court documents say, Harris was hanging out near Cooper's Place bar in the Carver Heights neighborhood of Dade City when witnesses say they saw him unload a gun into Sean Alexander Larry Spaights.

"I'm an animal," one witness said he heard Harris shouting as he fired repeatedly into Spaights, who lay on the ground.

No motive has been offered in the killing. Spaights, 24, had numerous arrests to his name and was the father of a little girl.

One of the witnesses quoted in court documents said he saw another man shoot Spaights first, then saw Harris walk up and fire on him. No one else has been charged in the case, but Pasco Sheriff's Office spokesman Kevin Doll said the agency is investigating a possible co-defendant.

Doll said Harris has been a suspect since the shooting happened, but it wasn't until this week that a Pasco grand jury handed up the indictment. "Part of the problem was having people come forward to talk about what happened, because people are scared of him," Doll said.

Harris has remained in jail since his acquittal April 8 in the murder of Cleo Stinyard. He has pending charges of robbery with a deadly weapon, carrying a concealed weapon and marijuana possession.

Last year, he testified for the prosecution in the first-degree murder trial of Luc Pierre-Charles, who was charged with killing two Wesley Chapel teens on an isolated road in Trilby in 2006.

Harris was working then as an informant for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. He told the jury Pierre-Charles confessed to shooting one of the boys, and said Tyree Jenkins shot the other.

Pierre-Charles was convicted; Jenkins is set to go to trial in August.

Cooper's Place, where Spaights died, was the scene of another killing in October 2008. Bernaldo Vasquez, 23, was shot to death.

Doll said prosecutors ruled that incident justifiable homicide and did not file charges.

The suspect in that case is John Quincy Singleton, who is now charged in a May 15 shooting at Club Nocturnal in New Port Richey. Irvin Watts Jr., 28, of Tarpon Springs died. Craig Fowler, 17, of Tarpon Springs was injured. Singleton, 21, faces charges of second-degree murder and robbery.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.

Months after one acquittal, Dade City man charged in another murder 06/24/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 24, 2010 8:38pm]
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