This is Daniel Harris’s bio, in his own words:
Born the fourth (and last) child of good parents that did their best in Mobile, Alabama, I grew up in a backwoods redneck family. By the time I was 14 I had more than a dozen guns of my own and lived to hunt, fish, and ramble in the woods. Summers were swimming and sunning on the beaches and sandbars. Holidays were for alcoholic inebriation with parental consent at a young age. My parents were liberal in many way and yet considered themselves Christians of the “God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve” variety. Once I realized I was attracted to men there was no way I could ever admit it or hope to find acceptance.
After marrying two women—Laura Penrod (who I only knew for 10 days) and Diana Shepherd Brantly Pollard—I went to prison on a 5-year conviction. The man I robbed wasn’t my first victim and wouldn’t be my last. Shooting drugs had turned me into a monster.
Since February of ’92, I’ve been incarcerated in Texas after a shootout that began on Lower Greenville Ave. in Dallas and ended on the highway in Hunt County [around 100 miles away] when my third wife, Jeanie Land, backed out of our suicide pact and decided she would rather go to prison than die. I got out of the car, gun in hand, intending to die but the gun was too heavy to lift. I had lost a lot of blood from a gunshot wound in my hand. Only in court did I see the film that showed me standing for about two minutes looking more than a little crazy and trying to lift a gun until I blacked out.
Though I would be convicted of 10 counts, 6 attempted Capital Murders of Police and 4 Attempted murders, I only truly tried to kill 3 officers that dark day. I shot tires, radiators, and passenger side windows where no one sat. With about 150 rounds fired, 100 9mm out of a very accurate M-11 Cobra with 32 round clips, there is no doubt in my mind that if I had fired head high every time I pulled the trigger I would have hit someone. I’m very glad no one was shot except myself, though the D.A. in Dallas did try to see that I was convicted of Injury to a Child for a little girl that got glass dust on her eyelid hours later. It was overturned on appeal. It was surely my fault, but not my intent. My sentences on record are: 2-35 Aggs., 4-32 Aggs. for shooting at police, and 4-20 Aggs. for having mistakenly shot civilian cars in the belief that if people were endangered by the car chase they would back off. I forgot I was in the Wild West. All of these sentences are running concurrent with the help of a news crew’s helicopter: I was never out of sight of the police, so it was considered one offence with multiple crimes. The judges were both in favor of all the sentences running concurrent. Said so. I don’t blame them for their opinion or society for my time.
In Virginia I was convicted on 1st Degree Murder for killing Jeanie’s uncle, at her request, in Norfolk. My plea agreement required that Jeanie be allowed to plead guilty to 2nd Degree Murder and would be sentenced to do no more than 5 years. My pleading guilty also took the Death Penalty off the table. My commitment papers from Virginia said only that I was “Committed to a term of 600 years in the Virginia Department of Corrections.” With no mention of “Life” it gives you a new way to look at things since 600 years is the amount of time Virginia decides a life is worth.
I was diagnosed with HIV in September, 2000; it pushed me over the edge. The challenge of facing what I saw as death led me back to sanity and life with the help of Ramsay who became my mentor, friend, and family of choice to replace the family of blood that had given up on me. If every prisoner could have such a friend there would be hope for all of us. If every child could have such guidance we wouldn’t need prisons.
Thanks to one person caring I am no longer the man I was. I’m not perfect, too broken to ever be, but finally I can be proud of the man I am. For me, that is enough.
We send your comments to our writers but if you’d prefer to write Daniel directly, please write to:
Daniel H. Harris #00622851
2664 FM 2054
Tennessee Colony, TX 75886