Criminal Justice

Prosecutor's suspicion during assault defendant's Zoom hearing leads to arrest

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A Michigan man accused of assaulting his girlfriend ended up back in jail because of a prosecutor’s suspicions during his Zoom hearing.

Coby James Harris, 21, was arrested during the hearing March 2 after police determined that he was at the same home as the victim, report the Sturgis Journal and KIRO 7.

Harris was accused of assault with intent to commit bodily harm less than murder in the Feb. 9 incident. He and the girlfriend appeared separately on Zoom during the hearing in St. Joseph County, Michigan.

During questioning of the girlfriend, Deborah Davis, who’s assistant to the prosecuting attorney, expressed her suspicions.

“Your honor,” Davis said, “I have reason to believe that the defendant is in the same apartment as the complaining witness right now, and I am extremely scared for her safety. The fact that she’s looking off to the side and he’s moving around, I want some confirmation that she is safe before we continue.”

Judge Jeffrey Middleton asked the complaining witness where she was. “Um, I’m at a house,” she said. She is asked for the address and answers, “It’s my house.” She then gives an address.

The judge then asked the defendant where he was, and he gave a different address. The judge asked Harris to go outside and take a picture of the address. He claimed that he could not because the cellphone he was using in the hearing had little power.

The prosecutor interrupted and said the police are at the woman’s door.

When it was confirmed that Harris was at the home, he told the judge that neither he nor the girlfriend want the no-contact order to continue.

“I ask that be dropped,” Harris said. “I’m sorry I lied to you. I knew the cops were outside. I don’t know why I … ”

At that point, Middleton interrupted and advised Harris not to say anything else. Middleton revoked Harris’ bond.

“If you have $10 million, you can’t bond out,” Middleton said. “In addition, the prosecutor’s probably also going to charge you with obstruction of justice.”

Harris tried to speak again and Middleton hushed him again.

“You’re digging your hole,” Middleton said. “You hit bottom and you’re continuing to dig. Officer is directed to take him into custody.”

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