Harris faces death penalty
An accused murderer was informed during a court appearance Wednesday thathe is facing the death penalty if convicted. Donnie Lee Harris Jr., 29, of Talihina, is accused of the first degree murder of his girlfriend, Kristi Ferguson, who was 25 at the time of her death. Harris is accused of setting Ferguson on fire after dousing her with gasoline. The couple were inside a home in Talihina when Harris set the fire, leaving several other people endangered when the home caught fire. Ferguson succumbed to her injuries in an Oklahoma City hospital. Harris, who was originallybooked into the LeFlore County Detention Center on first degree arson charges, was charged with murder upon Ferguson’s death. During Wednesday’s court appearance in District Judge Jon Sullivan’s courtroom, Harris appeared with his defense attorney, James Bowen. During the formalarraignment hearing, Sullivan informed Harris of the charge against him and of his rights. Sullivan asked Harris if he was aware a bill of particulars (notice by the state they are seeking the death penalty) had been filed in the case against him and Harris acknowledged he was aware. When Sullivan asked Harris if he would enter a plea, Harris refused, so Sullivan entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of the defendant.The District Attorney’s office filed their notice Wednesday morning stating it was seeking the death penalty upon the conviction of Harris. The document states Harris committed an especially heinous, atrociousor cruel murder by dousing Ferguson in gasoline and setting her on firewhich resulted in her death. The document also states Harris created a great risk of death to more than one person when he was the cause of the fire which burned the home occupied by several other people. Harris is scheduled to stand trial in January.