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Unsolved: 'He really cared about people:' Former fiancé pushes for answers in Jacksonville cold case

Narrowing down the timeline in a murder case is an important step toward solving it. In the death of Marlon Harris, detectives have a 30-minute window.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — “They took someone that people really cared about, and he really cared about people,” describes Neferturi Robinson.

She clearly remembers the night of Nov. 14, 1997. Robinson’s finance, Marlon Harris, had been arrested that day for a minor, traffic-related charge and was at the Duval County Jail. 

She says he called her around 4 p.m. that afternoon to let her know he was in jail and needed her to bond him out. Robinson says she did and was waiting for him to call her to pick him up.

The timeline in this murder investigation begins at 7:55 p.m. that night, when Harris was released from jail.

Around 25 minutes later, at 8:20 p.m., the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office got a call about a shooting on Steele Street about three miles from the jail. In the roadway, responding officers found Harris dead. 

But as JSO cold case detective Ray Reeves, recounts, there were witnesses.

“They [witnesses] saw the victim lying in the roadway, and they saw another male, a black male, standing over him,” tells Det. Reeves.

He says the witnesses told officers they didn’t hear the man say anything, but he had a steel or chrome handgun.

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“He bent down and he did something or took something that the witnesses described, then he ran from the scene,” explains Det. Reeves.

Robinson says Marlon Harris grew up not far from that area near 11th and Myrtle Avenue. But it was unclear to investigators how he got to Steele Street within that 25-minute window.  A Google Maps estimate puts the walking distance at a 52-minute trip. 

“Did someone pick him up? Did someone see him walking? Did he catch a ride somewhere?” asked Det. Reeves, “We just don’t have those answers.”

Something that could provide answers is DNA.  Det. Reeves says JSO is in discussions with FDLE to see if DNA from the scene could be tested with new technology. Robinson says Harris’ son and three daughters deserve answers and the family wants closure.

“He was loved by everyone, his grandmother, his mom and his siblings. He was a wonderful friend and an awesome dad,” she describes.

Credit: FCN
Marlon Harris

Det. Reeves is hopeful the public could reveal more about who took the life of Marlon Harris nearly 25 years ago.

“We have this potential DNA that we are looking at, but you would be surprised the information we gather from folks who say ‘oh I thought you already knew this’,” tells Det. Reeves, “We welcome that information.”

If you know anything about the death of Marlon Harris in 1997, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS(8477).  You can remain anonymous.

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