Judge throws book at convicted Middletown murderer

Posted: Updated:

A Middletown man was sentenced to 27 years to life in prison Monday for the kidnapping and fatal beating of a Yonkers man.

A judge handed down the maximum sentence for James Harris, who, along with James Blagmon, was convicted of the kidnapping and murder of Yonkers resident Franklin Fitts.

During the trial, prosecutors detailed how the three people involved were once drug-dealing associates. The relationship soured once Fitts owed Blagmon money, prosecutors said. In September, prosecutors said Harris and Blagmon taped Fitts to a chair inside his Prince Street home and beat him with a pipe. Fitts was then stuffed into the trunk of his car and left for dead on First Street in Newburgh, they said.

At sentencing, Harris' attorney asked for leniency. He said Harris helped put Fitts in the trunk but did not intend to kill him. Harris added, "I was a hustler. But I'm not a murderer."

Harris' attorneys expect to file an appeal.

Blagmon was earlier sentenced to 52 years to life in prison.

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