When Hurricane Katrina hit, Ivory "B-Stupid" Harris was living
at 2800 Perdido, the parish jail. . . .
The 20-year-old man had racked up a staggering list of arrests
in New Orleans, including two on murder charges. But he was never
convicted of any serious crime.
When New Orleans flooded — five days after a local crime commission
criticized police and prosecutors for doing a poor job of putting
violent criminals behind bars — Harris was one of thousands of
inmates farmed out to jails throughout Louisiana.
And when he was released in Shreveport on Nov. 3, Harris became
Houston's problem and a key figure in Houston's new crime controversy.
Harris is among 11 Katrina evacuees suspected of transferring
their New Orleans turf battles to Houston and carrying out homicides,
robberies and kidnappings that began after his release from Shreveport.
. . .
He was arrested in New Orleans Jan. 4  on a criminal trespass
charge — and released on a $2,500 bail bond.
. . .
The crime commission's damning report less than a week before
the hurricane said that only 7 percent of those arrested were
ever convicted and that 60 percent of all convictions were for
misdemeanors. It also said violent offenses such as murder, rape,
battery or assault made up only 5 percent of all convictions
Another commission report in March underscored how easy it was
for people with long records to get their bonds reduced and obtain
release before trial on charges of committing violent crimes.
. . .
As a result, Goyeneche said, violent criminals allowed back
on the street were frequently able to intimidate victims and
witnesses before trial, resulting in prosecutors dismissing cases
they found nearly impossible to prove.
"Every year, there are one or two people killed who were scheduled
to testify in criminal court," Goyeneche said.
. . .
Harris had a record of more than a dozen arrests as a juvenile
before he was charged with the April 9, 2002, shooting death
of 24-year-old Alphonse McGhee in the courtyard of the CJ Peete
Housing Project. An Orleans Parish grand jury indicted Harris
as an adult on first-degree murder charges . . . .
The district attorney's office dropped the charges against Harris
on June 10, 2004, after a key witness's identification was deemed
inadmissible at trial. Harris could have been eligible for the
death penalty if convicted.
. . .
Less than a month after his release, he was arrested on a weapons
He was in and out of jail for the next two years, including
arrests on charges of aggravated battery, simple burglary, another
weapons charge and a slew of misdemeanors.
Last spring, Harris was charged with murder again. He was accused
of gunning down thrift-store owner Yoshio Watson, 30, on May
12. His picture ran in the "Wanted by the Law" section of the
New Orleans Times-Picayune twice before he was arrested June 19.
But on Aug. 22, a week before Katrina threw the city into chaos,
the district attorney's office dropped those charges against
. . .
In December, New Orleans evacuee Jack Jabocy Griffin, 20, was
shot to death in his car in Houston. The police have named Harris
as a suspect and think Griffin's death may be tied to a pool-hall
shooting in November.
Harris also has been charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated
kidnapping in Houston.
"So he was let out, went to Houston and started causing problems
there," said Crime Commission senior analyst John Humphries.—"New Orleans
failures led crime here," Houston Chronicle, Feb. 4, 2006, bold added.