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District Heights man convicted for killing mother and half-brother

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Published on: Monday, November 05, 2012

By Jim Davis

A District Heights man was convicted last Thursday in Prince George’s County Circuit Court in Upper Marlboro on two counts of second-degree murder and related handgun charges. He faces 110 years in prison.

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks announced late Thursday afternoon, at a press conference held at the county courthouse in Upper Marlboro, that Quindell Mercer, 35, of District Heights, was found guilty of the homicide death of his mother, Patricia Harris, and her son, Frank Lamar Harris, on Aug. 3, 2011, at their Fort Washington home.

According to evidence presented during the trial, sometime between noon and 5 p.m. on Aug. 3, 2011, Mercer went to the home of Harris and her son. For unknown reasons, he shot both of them and then posed their bodies on a sofa to make it look like they were sleeping. Patricia and Frank Harris were ultimately discovered by Frank Arthur Harris, the husband and father of the victims.

Mercer was also found guilty of use of a handgun in the commission of a felony and two counts of possessing a regulated firearm after conviction of a disqualifying crime.

Tips from the community helped develop Mercer as a suspect and led police to the home where he was found. When officers arrived at Mercer’s apartment in District Heights, Mercer was seen by police officers tossing a book bag outside a window. Police found the bag, which contained four handguns, authorities said.

Ballistics tests showed that one of the weapons — a Desert Eagle .45-caliber handgun — was used to kill Patricia and Frank Harris, according to police.

Despite the lack of a clear motive for the killings, Mercer was ultimately tied to the crime by an FBI handwriting expert and DNA evidence that showed the possibility of the handgun used in the crime belonging to someone other than Mercer was 362 trillion to 1.

“Mercer executed his mother and [half-brother] in cold blood for no apparent reason, and there is no excuse for this senseless act of violence that took the lives of two of our citizens,” Alsobrooks said. “I am pleased that a jury has held him accountable for his actions and that he will never have the chance to hurt anyone again.”

Mercer will be sentenced on Jan. 11, 2013, and is facing a maximum prison sentence of 110 years.

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