BALTIMORE, Md. – Dawnta Harris, the suspect convicted of killing Baltimore County Police Officer Amy Caprio, was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday.
Though 17-year-old Harris did not make a formal statement to the court, his lawyer read from a note that he had written.
“I just wish I could go back and not do what I did,” the note read.
In addition to the life sentence, Harris also received a sentence of 20 years for burglary and five years for theft. He will spend the rest of his life in a correctional facility. He is ineligible to receive parole.
“No penalty can bring back Officer Caprio or eliminate the pain Mr. Harris inflicted on the family of Officer Caprio or the Perry Hall neighborhood I represent. I would like to thank the prosecutors who pursued the toughest sanctions allowed by law,” Baltimore County Councilman David Marks said in a statement.
Harris was found guilty of murdering Amy Caprio in May after he fatally struck her with his car last year.
Officer Caprio, 29, was responding to a suspicious vehicle complaint, and possibly a residential burglary in progress call in May of 2018. Upon arrival Caprio observed the reported suspect vehicle and followed it into a cul-de-sac, blocking any escape route.
he activated the emergency overhead lights while she stepped out of her patrol vehicle with her weapon drawn. She ordered the lone male occupant to exit the vehicle multiple times.
The driver of the Jeep Wrangler initially opened the door as if he were going to surrender. But then suddenly closed the door and accelerated toward the officer. Caprio discharged her service weapon once before being deliberately struck by the fleeing suspect.
It was later learned that three other juveniles were actively burglarizing a house while the driver stayed in the “get away vehicle,” which ultimately killed the officer.
Almost immediately, calls came into the 911 emergency center advising of a gunshot and an “officer down.”
Dawnta Harris, 17, who was convicted of murdering Baltimore County police officer Amy Caprio, is expected to be sentenced this morning in Baltimore County Circuit Court in Towson. https://t.co/n9DMAawrHg
— WBAL NewsRadio 1090 and FM 101.5 (@wbalradio) August 21, 2019
Citizens came to Caprio’s aid and found her unresponsive, lying in the roadway. An off-duty firefighter commenced CPR and other emergency life saving measures in an attempt to save her life.
Caprio sustained critical injuries from being struck and was transported to MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center seven miles from the scene. However, she died a short time after arrival.
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She was remembered fondly by her department back in May of 2018.
Officer Caprio was a 29-year-old woman who loved her family, her husband, and her dog, Doodle. She loved the outdoors, mountain biking on the new bike she recently bought, and kayaking with her husband. She was a dog lover, making sure to have a leash and dog treats on hand when she went out on patrol – just in case. She and her husband were scheduled to begin a week of vacation this weekend to celebrate their third wedding anniversary and both of their upcoming birthdays.
Officer Caprio graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Exercise Science in 2010 with the intention of becoming a physical therapist, but found her true passion became police work. She graduated from the Baltimore County Police Department’s Police Academy on December 23, 2014 as a member of our 140th recruit class. Officer Caprio’s supervisor, Lieutenant Chemelli, stated today, ‘It was an honor to be her supervisor. I can personally say that she had a work ethic like no other. She truly loved being a police officer and helping others – this was her passion and definitely her calling. She made the ultimate sacrifice doing a job that she loved. She will be greatly missed by our shift and will forever be our hero.’ A sentiment resonating with all of her police family today.
Three other suspects have since plead guilty to felony murder in trials related to Caprio’s death.
Darrell Ward, Derrick Matthews and Eugene Genius appeared in a Baltimore court in June and entered their guilty plea in a deal worked out with state prosecutors.
In exchange for the guilty plea for felony murder, the state agreed to drop all of the first-degree burglary charges against the defendants. They are expected to be sentenced next month and will face a maximum of 30 years in prison.