Columbus man gets 25 years to life for murder during East Side home invasion

A 24-year-old Columbus man was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years for a fatal shooting during a home invasion at an East Side apartment complex.

Demitrious D. McKnight, of the Far East Side, was convicted by a Franklin County jury on Sept. 2 of murder and aggravated burglary in the death of 33-year-old Martin R. Harris.

Common Pleas Judge Gina Russo imposed a mandatory sentence of 15 years to life for the murder and added four years for the aggravated burglary and six years in gun specifications.

A witness testified that on the night of May 24, 2018, McKnight and an unidentified accomplice forced their way into a first-floor apartment in the 1200 block of Berwick Arms Place, near East Livingston Avenue.

She said McKnight pointed a gun at her and Harris, demanding drugs and money. She said she fled the apartment, followed by McKnight's accomplice, then heard shots.

Columbus police determined that McKnight and Harris had exchanged gunfire. Harris was struck twice and died at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center. McKnight, who was shot in the face, was detained by a security guard at the complex as he tried to escape through an apartment window.

The witness identified McKnight in a photo array and in court.

Testimony indicated that Harris didn't live in the apartment, but had sold drugs there.

The crime scene is located in the Colonial Arms Apartment Complex, which has been racked by violence in recent years. 

This summer, police investigated two homicides and three non-fatal shootings in the complex.

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