Arrest Made in Murder of West Philadelphia Community Organizer

Police say a suspect is in custody in connection to the death of Winifred "Winnie" Harris.

An arrest has been made in the murder of a West Philadelphia community organizer.

Nelson Giddings, 39, of Philadelphia, was taken into custody Monday in connection to the death of Winifred "Winnie" Harris. Giddings is charged with murder, robbery, burglary, criminal conspiracy and other related offenses.

Prior to his most recent arrest, Giddings was in custody in Delaware County on burglary and aggravated assault charges for an unrelated offense. In all, Giddings has been arrested 16 times, according to officials.

Lansdale Police
Mugshot of Nelson Giddings in connection to a prior arrest in Lansdale.

On February 3 shortly after 8:20 p.m., Harris, 65, was found unresponsive in the second floor bedroom of her home on the 300 block of N. Holly Street. Police say Harris was suffering from several gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead at the scene by a medic at 8:57 p.m.

Sources told NBC10 Giddings was one of at least two people spotted on surveillance video who broke into Harris' home during her murder. Sources also said the suspects meant to break into a different house and that Harris was not their intended target.

Harris was the acting executive director and volunteer coordinator for UC Green, a program that provides maintenance to around 500 trees and public spaces throughout Philadelphia.

"Just look at the trees and just know that my cousin Winnie Harris has something to do with that," said Harris' cousin Lamont Miles.

Miles said Harris made neighborhoods look better. A garden on Spruce Street containing various flowers and vegetables remains in her honor. Miles shared his thoughts on Giddings' arrest. 

"I'm not his judge," Miles said. "He has to deal with that monster when he does some soul searching. He has a long road to travel and hopefully God will forgive him for what he did."

Police continue to search for the second suspect in Harris' murder. If you have any information, please call Philadelphia Police.

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