Sunday, May 18, 2003

Teen admits killing student for $6

Gunman, two others wanted drugs

The Associated Press

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - In his final day of testimony, Daniel Gordin admitted under oath that he robbed and fatally shot Ryan Harris, an 18-year-old boarding school student who was home on Christmas break.

Gordin maintained that he didn't intend to kill Harris but, when asked by a prosecutor what an appropriate punishment should be, Gordin said, "It's up to God, not me, sir. I did it. I'm going to have to take it."

Gordin, 18, was the final witness to testify Friday before the defense closed its case, ending testimony that began Tuesday.

Closing arguments are expected Monday in Jessamine Circuit Court.

Gordin, who was 16 at the time of the shooting, faces a range of penalties if convicted, including the death penalty.

Special Judge James G. Weddle denied defense motions Friday to dismiss the murder and first-degree robbery charges against Gordin, but the judge said he would rule next week on a motion to dismiss a charge of first -degree wanton endangerment.

That charge is inseparable from the murder charge, said defense attorney Adam Zeroogian, and for Gordin to face both means he would be illegally tried twice for the same offense.

During almost three hours of testimony, Gordin said he, Joey Reynolds and Summer Turner had spent Jan. 5, 2002, at his Fayette County home watching movies, playing video games and smoking marijuana.

The three left the house that evening to buy more marijuana and, at a Lexington intersection, Gordin and Reynolds noticed Harris in his Honda Accord.

They followed Harris into the driveway of a house under construction in Jessamine County. Gordin said he got out of the car, walked up to the passenger side window of Harris' car and displayed a 9 mm semiautomic handgun.

Gordin asked Harris to give him some cocaine. Harris "looked at me like I was crazy," Gordin said. Instead of handing drugs to Gordin, Harris surrendered $6 in cash from his wallet.

Gordin returned to his car and told Reynolds to leave, but Harris began following them. Gordin said he sat in the window frame of the car and fired two "warning shots" into the air.

"I figured he was trying to run us off the road," Gordin said.

Reynolds finally stopped after both cars reached more than 75 mph.

"I got out of the car with the gun because I still had it in my hand," Gordin said. He ran toward Harris, who was attempting to turn around. Gordin said he fired two shots at the car, which "got back on the road and kept going."

Less than a mile away, Harris crashed into a utility pole. He died at a Lexington hospital.

Reynolds was also charged in Harris' death. His trial is scheduled for June 23.

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