Attorney: Family of murder victim contacted about court hearing - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Attorney: Family of murder victim contacted about court hearing at last minute

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Nearly eighteen months after Ruth Helen Harrion's death, the man arrested and charged with her murder remains in a holding cell awaiting trial. Her family members say they feel left out of the legal process because of something that happened Friday.

Harrion's daughters said they weren't able to attend a court hearing for the man accused of their mother's death because they were told about it by the Hinds County District Attorney's office at the last minute.

"We're trying to figure out why we weren't part of that schedule since it was our mom, you know, that was murdered in such a horrific way," said Angela Harrion. "It's hard to understand a lot of things at this point." 

Angela Harrion said the last year and a half has been unimaginable.

They've been waiting all that time for justice after police said then 29-year-old Alonzo Stewart broke into Ruth Harrion's Jackson home and brutally murdered her.

"We were notified during the actual hearing that was going on [Friday] as it was going on instead of being notified previously so we'd be prepared to attend," added Angela Harrion.

Family attorney Dennis Sweet said as far as he knows, Friday's court date was a competency hearing for Stewart, but that process has been going on for some time.

"The biggest delay to this point has been establishing whether he's competent to stand trial," said Sweet.

The daughters said they feel negligence by Jackson police officers responding to Ruth Harrion's 9-1-1 call was difficult enough to endure. Now they want to make sure they're not being let down by the Hinds County justice system.

"We would like to attend to know what's going on inside the courtroom and not outside through hearsay," Angela Harrion said.

Sweet said the notification process is simply a matter of courtesy.

"The family just wants to be able to be notified at least two days in advance so that they can have the opportunity to attend these hearings, no matter how big or how small the hearing may be," Sweet said.

"One thing my mother always told us, you know, [was] not to dwell into the devil's ways, you know, and to think positively, said Harrion. "And that's all that we've been trying to do throughout this whole situation." 

Sweet said this is the first time the family wasn't notified properly during this lengthy legal process.

Calls and texts placed to Hinds County DA Robert Shuler Smith for comment on the matter were not returned Friday.

Copyright 2016 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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