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Wednesday, August 29, 2012
A former bodyguard for champion boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. was sentenced to prison.
Posted: Aug. 28, 2012 | 11:21 a.m.
A former bodyguard for champion boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. was sentenced to prison Tuesday for shooting at two men outside a roller skating rink in August 2009.
Ocie Harris, 30, of Chicago was sentenced to a two- to five-year prison term.
He pleaded guilty in April to two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of firing a weapon into a vehicle. Under his Alford plea, Harris did not admit guilty but acknowledged prosecutors could prove their case against him.
Before being sentenced, Harris, wearing a charcoal suit, glasses and a head full of meticulously braided dreadlocks, addressed Judge Doug Herndon.
"I would like to apologize for my actions and misunderstandings. It is not of my nature to harm anyone or to be harmed. I believe a gun was pointed in my direction from the car that was struck. I am so grateful and appreciative and thankful that God did not allow anyone to be harmed or hurt," said Harris, whose mother, girlfriend and other relatives attended the hearing.
There was no evidence that the two men he was shooting at had a gun, court documents show.
At least one witness in the parking lot of the skating center overheard Harris and another man speaking with Mayweather before the shooting, according to grand jury testimony.
Harris and the other man told the boxer to leave and "we're going to take care of it," the transcripts show.
The shooting happened moments later.
Authorities say Harris shot at a BMW carrying Quincey Williams and Damein Bland as the car left the Crystal Palace parking lot on Boulder Highway. The car was hit six times.
Williams and Bland said the shooting occurred after Mayweather threatened Williams' life over insulting text messages. No one was injured, and Mayweather was never charged.
Williams, who has said he believes Mayweather told Harris to shoot, and Bland have sued the boxer and his associate.
In a letter to Herndon, Williams wrote that he had to undergo counseling after the shooting. "This unfortunate ordeal has caused me a great deal of pain, suffering, sleepless nights, paranoia and grief," he wrote.
Williams said he still lives in fear and remains on constant guard while in public or large crowds.
"There are painful reminders that keep me on alert," he wrote. "For instance, car wheels screeching can cause me to panic."
During the 30-minute sentencing hearing, prosecutor Sam Bateman asked for a maximum sentence on two counts, while defense lawyer Tom Pitaro sought probation for Harris.
Bateman said the senseless shooting over a text message took place as the skating rink was closing and families and children filtered into the parking lot.
Pitaro said that Harris had no criminal convictions though he grew up in a hardened housing project in Chicago.
Pitaro blamed the shooting on Williams and Bland, specifically Bland, who has a criminal record. They went to the skating rink to cause trouble with Mayweather, Pitaro said.
Prosecutors tried to pressure Harris into fingering Mayweather in the case, Pitaro added.
"He would not do that, because he didn't believe it was true," Pitaro said.
Prosecutors have said there was not enough evidence to charge Mayweather.
Herndon also ordered Harris to pay $23,950 in restitution.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039.