Reuben Fairfield Pleads Guilty to February Beating Death of Lionel Harris; Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison
Reuben Fairfield, of Jackson, entered a guilty plea today in Madison County Circuit, Division I, to charges related to the murder of Lionel Harris. In July, Fairfield, 27, was indicted for first degree murder and tampering with evidence. As part of a negotiated plea deal, Fairfield pled guilty to second-degree murder and tampering with evidence. He received an enhanced punishment of 35 years for the murder and six years for tampering with evidence. Those sentences are concurrent with each other for a total effective sentence of 35 years in prison with no parole.
Fairfield will continue to be held at the Madison County jail, without bond, until he's transferred to the Tennessee Department of Corrections.
The plea deal was approved by Harris' parents.
Around 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 7, Jackson police responded to a burglary in progress at the business located at 931 North Highland Avenue. Harris, who was originally from Marion, Ark., was found dead on the parking lot from head trauma. He had moved to Jackson with his girlfriend in Dec. 2010.
The investigation indicated that Fairfield was Harris' girlfriend's brother. Shortly before his murder, Harris, 27, had left Fairfield's home on West Grand Avenue and walked to a bus stop on the 1000 block of North Highland to catch the bus home. Fairfield went to the bus stop, armed with a hammer, with the intent of confronting Harris about a matter concerning a family member. Fairfield chased Harris across North Highland. Harris tried to escape by going inside the business at 931 North Highland, but the door was locked, which is what led the people inside to believe an intruder was trying to gain entry. Fairfield then struck Harris several times in the head with a hammer, killing him.
Fairfield fled the scene and attempted to hide the hammer by throwing it in an alley between Division Avenue and Wisdom Street. Investigators recovered the discarded hammer.
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