Greg Harris Was Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison For Manslaughter in Chiquita Tate Killing

Greg Harris Sentence and trial

East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriffs Office Greg Harris is currently serving 40 years in prison for manslaughter in the killing of his wife Chiquita Tate.

On February 20, 2009, Greg Harris called 911 in the early morning after he said his wife, Chiquita Tate, wasn’t answering her phone while pulling an all-nighter in her office preparing for an upcoming high-profile murder trial. Tate was found dead on the floor of her office later that day. The story will be featured on tonight’s episode of Dateline NBC.

The episode, titled “Shining Star,” tells Tate’s story as the detectives began and continued the investigation. According to the synopsis, the search for the killer took detectives down a strange and unexpected road. Dennis Murphy reports and includes interviews with Tate’s sister Danita Tate, Attorney Prem Burns and more.

When detectives got in to Tate’s office on that day, according to Oxygen, her office was a mess and there was blood everywhere. Baton Rouge Police Sergeant Elvin Howard, Jr. told Oxygen the case was “the most brutal murder I’ve ever worked or witnessed.”

Tate, 34, had been stabbed 43 times.


Harris Is Currently Serving a 40-Year Prison Term

Harris is currently serving a 40-year prison term after being convicted of manslaughter in 2011.

State District Judge Trudy White told Harris, “You took the life of a legal warrior. You took the life of a gifted lawyer. you took a life that was not yours to take.”

Harris’s parents do not believe he is guilty, however, telling Tate’s family and the prosecutor at the sentencing that their son was innocent.

“Ms. Burns, I think y’all got it wrong,” Harris’ father, Silver Harris, said. “You’re about to send an innocent man to jail.”

The prosecutor, Prem Burns, said the killing was premeditated, cruel and calculated. She said that strands of a woman’s hair were placed in Tate’s hands and her wallet was discarded in hopes that a thief would use her credit cards and become a murder suspect.


Harris Has Petitioned for a New Trial

On June 19, 2020, The Advocate reported that Harris was still asking for an evidentiary hearing as well as a new trial in the 2009 stabbing of his wife. Harris’ attorney, Rick Gallot, asked that the judge allow the new trial.

Gallot argued that Harris is innocent, and he claimed that DNA found under Tate’s fingernails, if tested, would prove that. He also argued that Tate was murdered by Denard Duheart, the now-deceased brother of a former client of Tate’s.

According to the attorney, witness statements report that Duheart was responsible, but East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said that the jury found Harris guilty despite understanding that Tate was a criminal defense lawyer and Duheart was a previous client of hers.

“The jury obviously considered and rejected the allegation she was killed by a client, especially in light of the overwhelming evidence that Harris was the offender,” he said.

Gallot argued that state District Judge Trudy White should not have presided over the trial because Tate was a student law clerk for the judge earlier in her career. The attorney argued that Harris could not and did not receive a fair trial because of that.

The judge, however, had disclosed her working relationship with Tate during a 2009 bail reduction hearing and neither attorneys or prosecutors raised any objections at the time.

Harris’s trial lasted 16 days, and he was found guilty of manslaughter and not the initial charge of second-degree murder. He received the maximum sentence of 40 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

His requests for the evidentiary hearing and his application for post-conviction relief have been denied.

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