Note: The above video is from reporting on Dezmond’s charges as of October 2021.
DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Two years after the two shooting deaths in a parking lot at North Carolina Central University, the man charged with the murders has been found not guilty.
At trial, a jury found Dezmond Armond Harper, 21, not guilty of the killings which took place on Sept. 14. As previously reported on CBS 17, the shooting happened on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021 and put a football game in progress on campus under lockdown.
On Thursday, the Durham District Attorney’s Office confirmed the not-guilty verdict, saying that it came as the result of Harper’s defense attorney presenting an argument of self-defense at trial.
At that trial, the DA’s office said the state had to meet a “high bar” of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
“In this case, a self-defense argument raised sufficient doubt for the jury to find the defendant not guilty. While it is not the outcome the DA’s Office sought, we respect the jury’s verdict and thank them for their service,” a spokesperson from the DA’s office said.
The individuals killed in the double shooting were identified as Sharmori Brown and Travis Rhodes, neither of whom were students at NC Central at the time of their deaths.
At the time of his indictment for the two first-degree murder charges, Harper was 19 and was already in jail, serving time for a murder in Raleigh.
Harper had been arrested earlier in September 2021 and charged with murder in a deadly shooting that happened near Brier Creek on Sept. 7. He also had been charged in Orange County with robbery with a dangerous weapon, second-degree kidnapping, and breaking and entering in connection with an incident on Sept. 5, arrest records showed.