Crime

Mom’s boyfriend denied bond in Jackson County capital murder case of 7-month-old baby

Michael Harris makes his initial appearance on a capital murder charge in the death of a 7-month-old before Jackson County Youth Court Judge Sharon Sigalas on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.
Michael Harris makes his initial appearance on a capital murder charge in the death of a 7-month-old before Jackson County Youth Court Judge Sharon Sigalas on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

Michael Donovan Harris of Ocean Springs will remain behind bars while awaiting a capital murder trial in the death of a 7-month-old baby.

Judge Sharon Sigalas ordered Harris, 27, held without bond at the Jackson County Adult Detention Center during his initial appearance Thursday in Jackson County Youth Court.

The child, Tanner Cowart, was identified in court only by the initials of T.C.

Sheriff Mike Ezell has identified the boy as the son of Harris’ girlfriend.

Deputies arrested Harris on a capital murder Wednesday after his girlfriend’s 7-month-old son died at USA Medical Center in Mobile, Alabama.

Tanner Cowart was initially treated at Ocean Springs Hospital on Feb. 16, and deputies were called to investigate suspected abuse, Ezell has said.

Harris was at home with the baby on Birch Avenue in Gulf Park Estates that Friday while the mother took another child to school, according to Ezell. The mother told investigators she found Tanner unresponsive when she got back about 8:30 a.m., and called 911.

Capital murder, which carries a potential death penalty, is a killing that occurs during the commission of another crime. Felony child abuse is the underlying charge.

“It is not a bondable offense,” Sigalis told Harris. She presided over the hearing because County Judge T. Larry Wilson is out of town.

A date for Harris’ preliminary hearing has not been set.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Kristen Johnson is the lead investigator.

Michael Donovan Harris makes his initial appearance on a capital murder charge in the death of 7-month-old Tanner Cowart before Jackson County Youth Court Judge Sharon Sigalas.

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