Sister of Florida man murderer reveals he witnessed dad kill someone (2022)

The sister of a Florida man sentenced to life in prison for murdering a Hispanic immigrant in a hate crime-fueled attack has revealed he was 'brought up with violence' and witnessed his own father kill a man in front of him.

On May 22, 2018, David Harris, now 23, was found guilty offirst degree murder and aggravated battery while committing evidence of prejudice over the death of18-year-old Onesimo Marcelino Lopez-Ramos in April 2015.

Prosecutors at Palm Beach County Courthouse said the victim was fatally beaten with an axe outside his house after Harris, his brother Jesse -also charged with murder and awaiting trial - and co-defendant Austin Taggart decided to go 'Guat hunting'.

Espy Harris claims her brother David,sentenced to life in prison for murdering a Hispanic immigrant in a hate crime-fueled attack, was 'brought up with violence' and witnessed his own father kill a man in front of him

Speaking in the latest episode of the BBC3 documentary series Love and Hate Crime: Trouble in Paradise, his sister Espy Harris claims her brother grew up around violence.

'David has a different father than me and Jesse,' she explained. 'He was always brought up with violence, it's all he's ever known.

'His father did kill somebody in front of David when he was young.'

David Harris was adopted at the age of six, when Espy was a baby - but she insists her brother is no murderer.

'I know who David is, and he's not a killer,' she said. 'He's always helped me out the most when it came to talking to me about things, he always had the right words.

On May 22, 2018, David Harris, pictured, was found guilty of first degree murder and aggravated battery while committing evidence of prejudice over the death of 18-year-old Onesimo Marcelino Lopez-Ramos in April 2015

Prosecutors at Palm Beach County Courthouse said Onesimo Marcelino Lopez-Ramos (pictured) was fatally beaten with an axe outside his house

'When I was a baby he was six years old. We were abandoned and left on our own, by ourselves, and the only reason we got out of that room and out of that house was because David was there to protect us.

'He got us to escape the house and that's when we were found by the state.'

After the children were abandoned by their biological parents, Espy claimed they ate 'rotten food' and had to do 'terrible' things to survive until they found help.

'When we went to our adoptive family they were originally just foster caring us for the moment, and they were going to give us back and we were going back into the system to find homes, permanent homes, but my mom wanted to keep us all together and she felt so bad for us and she officially adopted us in 2001,' Espy recalled.

David Harris was adopted at the age of six, when Espy was a baby - and she insists her brother is no murderer

'When I got old enough to realize what was happening [David] was always being taken away and moving out and arguing with my parents and them kicking him out.'

She added: 'He's the protector of us, he's our only big brother. As a person I'm very paranoid for some reason. I don't even know where I got it from. I have nightmares about dying in certain incidents.'

Throughout the documentary, Espy argues that her brother was not guilty of a hate crime, as he grew up in a diverse family himself.

'We never judged somebody by their race,' she said. 'David, Jesse and I are all Guatemalan.

'Me and Jesse, we both have dark skin, we get called a Guat all the time. We would get called Beaners and dirty Mexicans. I ended up having to leave a school because the discrimination was so bad.

Throughout the documentary, Espy - pictured getting her brothers' initials tattooed on her wrist - argues that David Harris was not guilty of a hate crime, as he grew up in a diverse family himself

'People always see the outside of him, they see his light skin color. The guy who was murdered is dark-skinned, but then looking at me and Jesse, we both have dark skin and David is just as much our brother.'

Speaking while having both her brothers' initials tattooed onto her wrist, Espy said: 'They kept calling it a hate crime, that he... killed him on purpose to rob him, but like, his sister's Guatemalan, why would he do that?'

Another person interviewed as part of the documentary is Heather Burga, a friend of Onesimo who used to work with him at a restaurant.

'Hewas always very positive, never a bad attitude, always joking around,' she recalled.

'The incident happened because a group of kids who had nothing better to do, raised with apparently no morals, decided to go attack Guatemalans.'

Another person interviewed as part of the documentary is Heather Burga, pictured - a friend of Onesimo who used to work with him at a restaurant

She admitted she isn't a 'big believer' in funerals but felt she owed it to Onesimo to pay her final respects - however she claimed it was 'the worst funeral' she's ever been to.

'It's a tragedy, nobody should have to lose their life at 18 years old for the color of their skin. A young boy with beautiful hair,' she explained.

'The funeral they had an open casket.His face was swollen and they shaved his head. It was the worst funeral I've ever been to.'

Heather told how she was shocked when she saw Harris in the dock at court, as he 'looked like a little kid'.

'They dressed him up and he looked like he had morals and respect,' she said.

Harris' appearance was down to his attorneyFranklin Prince, who revealed in the documentary he chose his client's outfit very carefully to make him look as respectable as possible.

Harris' appearance was down to his attorney Franklin Prince, pictured, who revealed in the documentary he chose his client's outfit very carefully to make him look as respectable as possible

'I think he looks good in a sweater,' he explained. 'We had an acquittal in January 2017 of a first degree murder case and the young man wore a sweater almost every day. He didn't like to wear the sweater but he sure liked the result.'

Police in Jupiter, Florida, found Onesimo unresponsive with a cracked skull early in the morning on April 18, 2015, after police were called to respond to a fight.

During Harris's trial, prosecutors alleged he, his brother and Taggart had set out to 'Guat hunt' - find and rob people of Guatemalan or Latino descent.

When Onesimo's brother touched Harris, they claimed a fight broke out which sawTaggart hit the victim in the back with a rebar.

During Harris's trial (pictured with his attorney) prosecutors alleged he, his brother and Taggart had set out to 'Guat hunt' - find and rob people of Guatemalan or Latino descent

During his sentencing, during which Espy wept, Palm Beach County Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer told Harris: 'What happened in this case was absolutely horrific, and there is no other appropriate sentence in this case other than life in prison'

The Harris brothers and Taggart had started to walk away, prosecutors said, but returned when Onesimo and his friends continued to yell at them.

Harris, prosecutors claimed, then picked up an axe that had been dropped by Onesimo's brother and swung it at his head - which proved to be the fatal blow.

During his sentencing,Palm Beach County Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer told Harris: 'What happened in this case was absolutely horrific, and there is no other appropriate sentence in this case other than life in prison.'

Love and Hate Crime: Trouble in Paradise airs tonight on BBC One at 10:25pm.

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Rueben Jacobs

Last Updated: 07/09/2022

Views: 5939

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rueben Jacobs

Birthday: 1999-03-14

Address: 951 Caterina Walk, Schambergerside, CA 67667-0896

Phone: +6881806848632

Job: Internal Education Planner

Hobby: Candle making, Cabaret, Poi, Gambling, Rock climbing, Wood carving, Computer programming

Introduction: My name is Rueben Jacobs, I am a cooperative, beautiful, kind, comfortable, glamorous, open, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.