United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg recently announced that Marvin Harris, Jr., of Fort Myers, aka “Mesh,” pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit interstate murder-for-hire resulting in death and interstate murder-for-hire resulting in death.
Harris, Jr. faces a minimum mandatory sentence of life in federal prison. A sentencing date has not been set.
According to the plea agreement and other court documents, in 2019, Harris, Jr. hired two individuals, co-defendant Latrel Jackson, aka “Kobe,” and unindicted co-conspirator D.S. (deceased), to travel from the Chicago-area to Fort Myers to commit murder in exchange for $10,000. Harris, Jr.’s motive was to retaliate against individuals who he believed had previously robbed a residence in Fort Myers from which he and others associated with him sold drugs. The individuals Harris, Jr. suspected of committing the robbery and shooting belonged to a Fort Myers gang known to law enforcement as “Bucktown.”
With the agreement to retaliate against the Bucktown gang in place, Jackson and D.S. traveled to Fort Myers from Chicago aboard a commercial airline on October 28, 2019. Upon arrival, Harris, Jr. picked Jackson and D.S. up from the Southwest Florida International Airport and provided them with partial payment for the planned murder, as well as firearms to accomplish their task. Initially, Jackson and D.S. stayed at Harris, Jr.’s “trap house” (a residence used primarily to distribute drugs) in Fort Myers, but later moved to a local motel on Palm Beach Boulevard. During that time, Jackson, D.S., and others attempted to find members of Bucktown to murder in the retaliatory scheme.
On November 2, 2019, Harris, Jr. obtained a vehicle for Jackson and D.S. to use during the commission of a murder. Jackson and D.S. proceeded to a known Bucktown hangout in Fort Myers and observed the victim, K.U., standing in front of the residence near the curb of the street. Jackson and D.S. quickly circled the block and returned, and at close range opened fire on K.U., killing him in front of the home with a gunshot wound to the head. After the shooting, Harris, Jr. paid Jackson and D.S. the remaining sum of money owed for completing the murder-for-hire scheme. Jackson and D.S. were also left in possession of the firearms used to commit the murder. Jackson and D.S. then returned to the Chicago area on a commercial bus on November 3, 2019.
During a search of Jackson’s Chicago-area home on November 21, 2019, law enforcement recovered two firearms from an attic space in Jackson’s room. Forensic analyses of the firearms by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed that both matched shell casings recovered from the murder scene and the murder vehicle, and that one of the firearms had fired the bullet which had been recovered from K.U.’s head during his autopsy.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fort Myers Police Department, with assistance from the Joliet (Illinois) Police Department, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael V. Leeman.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.