Originally created 02/14/98

Convicted gunman to serve 10 years



A man convicted of manslaughter after admitting he shot and killed a neighbor late last summer was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison after the victim's family pleaded with a judge for justice.

Edward Harris, 52, admitted killing Julius Culbreath, 42, but maintained he fired his shotgun in self-defense, fearing for his life when Mr. Culbreath knocked on his door the evening of Sept. 4.

Prosecutors said Mr. Culbreath went to Mr. Harris' home to ask him to repay a loan.

Richmond County Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet sentenced Mr. Harris to five years on a charge of voluntary manslaughter and five years on a charge of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. The terms will be served consecutively.

"Since this happened, this whole ordeal, our lives have come to a standstill," Ruby Ross, Mr. Culbreath's sister, told Judge Overstreet before the sentencing. "We don't hate anyone because it wouldn't bring my brother back. But we want to see justice served."

Defense attorney Luther McDaniel argued during Mr. Harris' trial that Mr. Culbreath, known in the Underwood Homes neighborhood as a violent man, had repeatedly gone to Mr. Harris' home that day, becoming steadily more enraged.

After the shooting, Mr. Harris tried to pull Mr. Culbreath's body inside his home from the porch in an attempt to make the shooting look justified, Assistant District Attorney Bill Fleming said during the trial.