Jurors Deliberate Fate of ‘Coward’ School Administrator Accused of Trying to Murder Student




Boston jurors are deliberating whether a preacher and school administrator is guilty of trying to kill a student he was supposed to be mentoring. The student, Luis Rodriguez, 17, narrowly survived being shot in the head. He testified and named the administrator, Shaun Harrison, as his shooter.

Closing arguments in the case occurred Wednesday morning.  Jurors received the case shortly before noon. Watch the closings in the player above.

Harrison is accused of 10 counts. The most serious charge is armed assault with intent to murder. Harrison also faces weapons, ammunition, and marijuana possession charges. He’s further accused of attempting to distribute the marijuana.

During closing arguments, defense attorney Bruce Carroll admitted that Harrison illegally possessed at least some guns and ammunition. He told jurors that he didn’t contest three charges on the indictment related to weapons Harrison is said to have inherited from a family member but for which Harrison did not have proper permits. Carroll contested the rest of the charges, arguing in part that many of the state’s key witnesses had been granted immunity. Many were involved with criminal activities and had reason to lie about Harrison because doing so deflected blame from themselves, Carroll argued. Carroll further said much of the evidence against Harrison was recovered from a basement storage area in Harrison’s apartment complex where other witnesses had access to evidence.

Carroll also said victim Luis Rodriguez was initially silent about who shot him, but later told hospital staff it was someone who was going to buy drugs from him. It wasn’t until after that when Rodriguez implicated Harrison, the defendant. Carroll considers that suspicious.

Prosecutor David Bradley called Harrison a “coward” to left Rodriguez on the street “to die” after shooting him in the head.

Bradley said Harrison reacted strangely to news the of Rodriguez’s shooting the day after the shooting occurred. Bradley said that was evidence of consciousness of guilt. Text messages, including warnings to others, tied Rodriguez to both drug dealing and to the shooting, Bradley argued. Bradley also refuted claims by Carroll that if Harrison really was dealing drugs in the school that they would have reported them. Bradley pointed out that Harrison had commendations from the Boston Police Department hanging up in his office for his pastoral and educational work. Bradley said the students would not have trusted the authorities would properly deal with Harrison, whom they liked back then.

Bradley said jurors had every piece of evidence necessary to convict Harrison of all counts. Text messages, drugs and paraphernalia, guns and ammunition, and eyewitness testimony all linked Harrison to the crimes charged, he said.

[Image via mugshot]

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Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.

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