Norman takes plea deal in 2011 homicide


A Pine Bluff man was sentenced to prison Friday after pleading no contest to a 2011 homicide.

Alonzo Norman, now 19, was charged in the Sept. 10, 2011, shooting death of Briand Harris, 31, who was shot in the lower back and was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 1:46 a.m.

Norman, who was 17 at the time of the incident, originally was charged as an adult with first-degree murder but entered the no-contest plea to a reduced charge of second-degree murder, a Class A felony, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison by First Division Circuit Judge Berlin C. Jones.

He also pleaded no contest to one count of discharging a firearm from a car, a Class Y felony, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with the sentences to run concurrently for one 20-year sentence.

During a court appearance for Norman a few days after the shooting, Deputy Prosecutor Bryan Achorn said police were sent to the area of 22nd Avenue and Cypress Street and when they arrived, found Harris lying on his back.

Before he was put into an ambulance, police reported that Harris told them he had been shot.

In a probable-cause affidavit, Detective Richard Wegner said a woman contacted police and told them that she had heard two individuals talk about the murder, including details of how a person shot Harris while he was walking down the street.

Police were able to get the names of those two individuals, as well as the name of a girl who was with them and detectives interviewed all three, who were reportedly juveniles.

According to police, all three said they were riding around in a tan Ford Explorer when Norman, who was sitting in the back seat, pulled out a pistol and fired a single shot out the window at a man who was walking.

“The driver of the vehicle told police he ‘heard a scream,’ and Norman reportedly said ‘I just shot him in the leg,’ ” Achorn said in the court hearing.

Norman had been scheduled for trial beginning Monday. If convicted of first-degree murder, he could have been sentenced to 10 to 40 years or life in prison.

Deputy Prosecutors Rik Ramsey and Cymber Gieringer represented the state and Norman was represented by attorney Bill Luppen.