As the dean of students at English High School, Shaun Harrison ingratiated himself to an at-risk 17-year-old -- recruiting him to sell drugs in 2015. When the teenager's drug sales were lackluster Harrison tried murdering the student. On Thursday, a jury found the reverend guilty on charges related to the shooting after barely taking a day to deliberate.
On Friday, Shaun O. Harrison, 58, will be sentenced after he was found guilty of armed assault with intent to murder, aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, possession with intent to distribute a Class D substance, and two counts each of unlawful possession of a rifle or shotgun and unlawful possession of ammunition.
Harrison's trial lasted a week during which Suffolk County assistant district attorneys proved that from January through March 2015, Harrison had been assigned to help the boy, but instead got him to sell marijuana. And when the boy didn't meet sales expectations, Harrison arranged for the victim to be assaulted in school on March 3, 2015, according to a Suffolk County DA's press release. Cell phone records showed that Harrison texted the boy to meet him at Harrison's Pompeii Street apartment that evening, and surveillance cameras captured footage of the two walking together on Magazine Street when Harrison went behind the victim and fired one shot into the back of the victim’s head. The victim fell down and Harrison fled.
The victim was able to flag for help and while at the Boston Medical Center, he identified Harrison – using the self-styled reverend’s nickname “Rev” – as the person who shot him, said the DA's office.
“This defendant presented himself as a man of faith dedicated to helping young people,” said District Attorney Dan Conley. “Instead he exploited his position to earn the trust of vulnerable youth and prey on them. He betrayed the victim and he betrayed the community he claimed to serve. It was only by sheer luck that the victim survived this attempted execution to identify Harrison for what he is – a violent predator and a fraud.”
While searching Harrison's home, Boston Police found a large amount of marijuana, a rifle, a shotgun, a firearm, and several rounds of ammunition – including those of the same type and caliber used to shoot the victim. Police also recovered clothing matching those worn by the shooter that tested positive for gunshot residue.
Suffolk County DA spokesperson Jake Wark told Jamaica Plain News that it took three years for the case to go to trial because of, "Repeated continuances in the case have been either at the defendant’s request or by agreement as he fired and replaced a series of court-appointed attorneys."