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A Dauphin County jury found Eric King, 36, of Harrisburg, guilty of first-degree murder after a five-day trial before the Honorable Judge William Tully. The District Attorney’s Office alleged that King shot and killed Derick Garner on December 29, 2016, at OD’s Plantation, a bar located at 16th and Sycamore Streets in the City of Harrisburg.
Shortly, after midnight on that day, authorities said King went into the bar with two friends. An argument ensued between the victim and King. Shortly after the argument, King pulled out a 9 mm handgun and shot across a pool table at the victim who was talking with other bar patrons. The victim, who was hit in the arm by the shot, managed to escape out of the front of the bar.
Authorities then say King left the bar and got into the front passenger side of his friend’s vehicle. As the car drove away, the King rolled down his window and shot 4 more shots at the victim who was running away from the scene. The victim was struck two more times, in the face and the abdomen. The victim was transported to the Hershey Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries later that same day.
During the course of the trial, the jury watched multiple surveillance videos of the incident. Defense counsel argued that the defendant was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from being shot outside of the same bar in 2008. As a result, the defense claimed that King was fearful and was acting in self-defense when the victim was shot. The prosecution argued that King was angry with the victim for how he perceived he was treated in the bar—muttering to witnesses that the victim had “disrespected” him.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gettle argued to the jury: “The defendant, Eric King was a coward—not because he was afraid—but rather because he shot a man in the back as he ran from the scene attempting to escape the gunfire.”
The jury deliberated nearly 7 hours before returning a verdict of guilty of first-degree murder and firearms offenses. The defendant will be sentenced by Judge Tully on April 16, 2019. First degree murder carries a mandatory life imprisonment sentence for the defendant. King was previously convicted of an aggravated assault in 2000; and a robbery/aggravated assault in 2009 which also involved a firearm.