Man convicted of murder as a 12-year-old gets out of prison; victim’s father says justice wasn’t served

Demarco Harris was 12 years old when he killed a woman during a botched robbery. At age 13, a judge sentenced him to prison. On Monday, just days before his 21st birthday, another judge released him, albeit reluctantly.

ABC reports that in 2009, Harris attempted to rob Trisha Babcock, 24, at West Outer Drive and Minock Street in Detroit. He shot and killed the victim when his gun accidentally went off. In 2010, a judge ordered Harris to serve time in a juvenile prison until the age of 21.

His release is causing concern among citizens who feel he hasn’t served enough time for the crime committed, while others, such as therapists and caseworkers, described him as an exceptional prisoner who had “exemplary behavior” while locked up.

“Not only demonstrated his growth in his own but he has over the years provided mentorship to other youth helping them grow through the process,” associate clinical director, Jennifer Sloan, said.

The victim’s father, Steve Babcock, however, still remembers the day his daughter died and how she died alone without anyone to help her.

“My daughter deserves justice. I miss her voice, her smile, her laughter…This crime … juvenile detention center for seven years while he played the system … anybody in their right mind would have done the same thing that he did. Because he knows he has a chance for freedom.”

Harris apologized to the victim’s family while in court on Friday, then promised the judge that he’s grown in the years of his incarceration.

“Since that day, I’ve grown mentally, spiritually and physically,” he said.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Virgil Smith appeared reluctant to free Harris, but after taking into consideration what the therapists said about Harris, he agreed to let him walk out of prison on Monday.

“I know, I’ve been told, that once he turns 21 he supposed to be cut loose … I’m not so sure about that,” the judge said.

[Feature Photo: YouTube/WYZ-TV Screenshot]