A Philadelphia man has been convicted of third-degree murder in the shooting death of his neighbor over a dispute over dog waste.
A jury returned the guilty verdict Friday against 28-year-old Tyrirk Harris in the murder of 47-year-old Franklin Manuel Santana.
On Feb. 14, 2012 , police arrested Harris after he allegedly shot and killed his neighbor Frank Santana in the Tacony section of Philadelphia. Investigators said Santana confronted Harris over his dogs that had defecated on his lawn. The confrontation led to Harris allegedly pulling out a 9-mm handgun and fatally shooting Santana in his face and chest.
“An animal only would get a gun and shoot somebody over something so senseless, so unimportant” said Casandra Perez, Santana’s cousin. “He could have just called the cops and tried to resolve this amicably.”
Harris testified that he acted in self-defense because Santana threatened him over the dogs.
Investigators said Harris was recently laid off as a school district police officer. Santana, who lived on the 6500 block of Torresdale Avenue with his family, complained to Harris about his two dogs, a Chihuahua and German Shepherd, making a mess on his front lawn. Neighbors said Santana wasn’t the first person to complain.
“I know a few times we have said something to him about that little dog, the Chihuahua,” said David Cheatley, Santana’s neighbor.
According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Harris will be sentenced April 26. Assistant District Attorney Deborah Watson-Stokes said she would seek 20 to 40 years in prison, the maximum sentence for third-degree murder.