LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – Lucinda Edwards-Harris has been found guilty of negligent homicide in the death of 1-year-old Devon Lazarus.
Lucinda Edwards-Harris was found guilty Wednesday in the death of one year-old Devon Lazarus.
A Pulaski County jury found Edwards-Harris guilty of the lesser charge, negligent homicide, and not felony manslaughter.
THV11's Winnie Wright covering this case since November of 2016, when Harris drove through the Lazarus home on Arch Street in Pulaski County, hitting and killing the infant boy as he lay in his crib.
Back in August 2017, Edwards-Harris was charged with misdemeanor negligent homicide, a crime which was updated to felony manslaughter in December. It was not made clear why the change was made.
Edwards-Harris’ defense was that she had a seizure at the time of the accident and doesn’t remember any of it.
In 2013 she was diagnosed with epilepsy, after being in a car wreck she reported to not remember. Her doctor testified Wednesday, at that point, and fifteen additional times, he told Edwards-Harris not to drive.
The State argued Edwards-Harris was on seizure medication during the crash and knew the doctor’s orders, but disregarded the risk when she drove to and from the Arch Street Flea Market on November 7, 2016.
Edwards-Harris testified during the two-day trial, where she apologized multiple times, but never showed any emotion. Her defense team argued Edwards-Harris had recently been informed she was going to lose her long-term disability she’d gotten after the 2013 crash and the subsequent diagnosis.
The reason: because she hadn’t had a seizure for a period of time. Edwards-Harris testified she believed that meant she could drive again. Her attorneys argued, Edwards-Harris couldn’t have known a seizure was coming, and therefore there was no intent.
There has been no evidence to show Edwards-Harris was, in fact, undergoing a seizure when the wreck took place.
Before the sentencing, Devon’s parents, Tiffany Smith and Chris Lazarus were called to testify. They described Devon’s personality, what that day was like for them, and what life has been like since.
A friend of Edwards-Harris, from her time at Pulaski County Special School District testified on her behalf and begged the jury for leniency. Her family was not in attendance.
The jury did not see Devon Lazarus’ face during the first part of the trial. Prior to sentencing, after the parents testified, a prosecutor put his photo on the projector screen. All emotion fell from the jury members’ faces. Chris Lazarus, the boy's father, was in the front row, shaking.
Deliberations for the verdict took nearly four hours. Deliberations after Devon’s face was shown, less than 30 minutes.
She was given the maximum sentence: 12 months in the Pulaski County Jail and a $2,500 fine.
]Edwards-Harris’ attorney asked for a suspended sentence, or a chance for Edwards-Harris to turn herself in at a later date. Judge Johnson denied that request.
Lucinda Edwards-Harris left the Pulaski County Courthouse in handcuffs, to begin her jail sentence.