EFFINGHAM — A new charge has been added for a Charleston man who authorities say possessed cannabis stolen during a home invasion.
Jamal M. Harris, 19, is now charged home invasion on the accountability theory, a Class X felony.
When a person is charged under the accountability theory, a defendant can be held liable for the action of another if he or she helped plan or commit a crime.
Harris is also charged with possession with intent to deliver more than 30 grams but less than 500 grams of cannabis, a Class 3 felony.
Harris is a co-defendant in the home invasion case of a residence on South Linden Street in Effingham. Also arrested for the crime was Kaden Dedman, 22, of Sullivan. A minor has also been charged.
Effingham County Assistant State’s Attorney Rob Scales presented probable cause for Harris’ new charge.
Scales said that in the early morning hours of May 23, the female resident of the South Linden Street home was awakened by the sound of her front door opening.
Scales said the woman checked what was happening and witnessed two men entering her home. The female told police the men shouted “Where are the ... drugs?” then took a bag containing a half pound of cannabis.
Harris, Dedman and the minor, along with a female driver, were later stopped in a vehicle by a sheriff’s deputy for a traffic matter. The driver told authorities she had taken her male passengers to a home on South Linden, where a home invasion took place.
Scales said the driver, who was arrested on unrelated charges, told police that she saw all three males exit the vehicle prior to the home invasion. She said all three pulled up their hoods close to their faces and put on gloves.
Scales said Harris later told Effingham detectives that he knew that Dedman and the minor were going to commit the home invasion to steal the drugs. He told authorities that he did not enter the home and instead waited in an alleyway.
Scales said the other two defendants in the case pointed to Harris as one of the men who entered the home. He noted that it is not clear which of the three men entered the home.
Harris did admit to officers that he was aware of the planned home invasion but insisted he did not enter the home.
Scales also requested a higher bond amount at $150,000. Judge Allan Lolie previously set Harris’ bond at $7,500, but Scales said the more serious home invasion charge warranted a higher bond.
Scales acknowledged that the prosecution did not believe Harris possessed the gun used to pistol whip the female resident but noted that Harris has numerous pending charges in other counties.
Harris’ appointed attorney Lance Freezeland said he has not had time to consult with Harris as he was only assigned to the case Tuesday.
Lolie set bond at $75,000 of which Harris would pay 10 percent, or $7,500, to obtain his release from the Effingham County Jail. However, Lolie said because Freezeland had no time to prepare for the second bond hearing, the hearing was continued for another look at 10 a.m. on June 2.
Harris appeared in court via video call and hung his head after the new charge was announced.