Larry Krasner’s office freed a convicted murderer who is suspected of killing again

Larry Krasner’s office freed a convicted murderer who is suspected of killing again
Larry Krasner, Soros' man in Philly. (Image: Screen grab of WHYY News video, YouTube)

A progressive district attorney freed a convicted murderer last year, falsely claiming the evidence of his guilt was weak. Now, that murderer is wanted for yet another murder. Charles Gossett was shot to death on Labor Day. A month later, when video of the suspected killer was released, he was recognized as Jahmir Harris, by the brother of a man Harris was convicted of killing in 2012. Harris was convicted based on eyewitness testimony and other evidence. Despite that, Harris was set free last year at the urging of District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Harris was convicted of firing 17 shots at Louis Porter outside a Walgreens at Oregon Avenue near 23rd Street in December 2012. Porter had just parked his car and his 5-year-old son was in the backseat when he was killed….the DA’s Office last year raised questions about the reliability of the eyewitness’ statement, and said cell phone records cast further doubt on Harris’ involvement….The DA’s Office asked Common Pleas Court Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi to vacate Harris’ conviction and set him free, which she did — but not without hesitation. At one point, DeFino-Nastasi ordered prosecutors to show proof of a more thorough investigation proving that Harris was not involved. Later, she harshly criticized Patricia Cummings — then the director of [Krasner’s] Conviction Integrity Unit — for what the judge cast as an incomplete review of the case.

Krasner has shown contempt for the rule of law. Last month, the “Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 162-38 Tuesday, with numerous Democrats siding with Republicans, to pass a resolution holding Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner in contempt of state for refusing to comply with a subpoena,” reported WITF. In a memo, three state representatives said “unchecked violent crime in Philadelphia has reached a breaking point and one obvious cause is the dereliction of duty by District Attorney Krasner in the willful refusal to enforce Pennsylvania’s criminal laws in the City of Philadelphia.”

While even many Democrats in the legislature are disturbed by Krasner’s soft-on-crime policies, Krasner still has his ardent defenders, like the Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, who is a big supporter of Krasner.

Earlier, Krasner was ordered to apologize for lies his office told a federal judge. Law and Crime reports:

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (D), one of the first of a wave of progressive prosecutors elected on a criminal justice reform platform, made “false” claims that his office communicated with the family members of the victims of a man that he sought to free from death row, a federal judge found. According to a scathing 28-page memorandum opinion, the district attorney’s office wrongly suggested the relatives of the Pennsylvania couple killed by Robert Wharton supported his release from death row. In fact, U.S. District Judge Mitchell Goldberg found, Krasner’s office did not even contact the sole surviving victim of the attack: Lisa Hart-Newman, who was an infant when Wharton killed her parents, turned off the heat, and left her inside the house to die.

The surviving victim “was ‘extremely disappointed to learn of the District Attorney’s stance.’’

Krasner’s office, which opposes the death penalty, sided with the murderer in his federal challenge to his death sentence, citing his positive adjustment to life in prison. But “the district attorney’s office failed to advise the court about Wharton’s ‘violent escape from a city hall courtroom’ and subsequent escape conviction,” Judge Goldberg said, which are “possibly the worst type of prison adjustment.” Krasner’s Department Supervisors claimed they hadn’t known about the escape attempt, but in reality, an assistant supervisor stated in court that Krasner’s office was aware of Wharton’s escape conviction.

Because Krasner’s office had committed “egregious” and “exceptional” violations of the federal rules of procedure, the judge ordered the DA to “send separate written apologies” to four victim family members.

Krasner, a soft-on-crime district attorney, is himself a scofflaw, notes Big Trial: “Krasner, a persistent tax deadbeat, still owes the city $83,406.50 in back taxes.” But “unless he’s impeached, or somehow removed from office, Krasner….will continue to let armed and dangerous criminals off the hook. And they’ll continue to go out and hurt, maim and/or kill more innocent victims.”

Krasner fails to prosecute most serious crimes, even when arrests are made. As Big Trial notes, “the percentage of criminal cases withdrawn or dismissed by the D.A.’s office has gone from 28% in 2014 under former D.A. Seth Williams all the way up to 67% last year under D.A. Krasner.” Meanwhile, the murder rate in Philadelphia has risen, breaking record after record.

Krasner fired experienced prosecutors who were good at obtaining justice for crime victims, as soon as he took office. As Big Trial notes,

When he first took office back in January 2018, Krasner’s first official act was to fire 31 senior prosecutors…The new Philly D.A., a career criminal defense lawyer who had never prosecuted a traffic stop, replaced the most senior prosecutors in his office with a combination of social justice warriors, former public defenders and woke progressives fresh out of law school.

The result was that criminals remained free to kill innocent people. 21-year-old Jailene Holton was shot to death by a man that Krasner’s office failed to convict of rape despite overwhelming evidence, such as text messages. Krasner’s office assigned an inexperienced recent hire who had previously interned in a public defender’s office to prosecute the case. He bungled the case, so the defendant walked free. Seven months later, that man shot Jailene Holton to death in a rage.

As Big Trial notes, “for Krasner’s prosecutors, winning a conviction in court is a rare event. The D.A.’s own Data Dashboard shows how inept the D.A.’s office is at obtaining guilty verdicts under Krasner. According to the D.A.’s own stats, the percentage of guilty verdicts won at trial have gone from 17% of all criminal cases in 2014 under former D.A. Seth Williams, all the way down to just 2% of all criminal cases prosecuted last year under D.A. Krasner.”

Under Krasner, Philadelphia’s murder rate spiked in 2020, hit an all-time high in 2021, then rose again in 2022. Philly has more murders than bigger cities like New York or Los Angeles. Yet when Krasner was asked “about the city’s crime surge,” he played it down, reports NBC News:

“We don’t have a crisis of lawlessness,” Krasner said. “We don’t have a crisis of crime. We don’t have a crisis of violence.”… Michael Nutter, a former Philadelphia mayor who is African American, erupted at Krasner, accusing him of dismissing the pain of Black residents who suffer from the violence.

Many violent crimes in Philadelphia are committed by criminals with long rap sheets. An “illegal Congolese alien had already racked up multiple convictions, including for sex crimes, but still hadn’t been deported and was walking” the “streets free to rape” a woman on a “Philadelphia train,” notes lawyer Ted Frank. “Keith Gibson had 29 felony arrests” and “nine convictions,” yet remained “on the streets at age 39 to murder six more people” in Philadelphia and Delaware.

Philadelphia has suffered a larger increase in killings than most places, but other cities also face rising deaths. Killings have increased in nearby Baltimore, where most killings are committed by people who previously were convicted of a serious crime, but who are no longer in jail due to their past lenient sentence. Progressive states and district attorneys have stopped prosecuting many violent juveniles — including killers in some cases — as adults, meaning that some teenage serial killers won’t be held beyond age 25. As a result, recidivism has gone up, increasing the crime rate.

Hans Bader

Hans Bader

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law. He also once worked in the Education Department. Hans writes for and has appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” Contact him at


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