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Ambrose HARRIS

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape - Robbery
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: 1992 / 1999
Date of birth: May 9, 1952
Victims profile: Kristin Huggins, 22 / Robert "Mudman" Simon (death-row inmate)
Method of murder: Shooting / Stomped to death
Location: Mercer County, New Jersey, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on March 2, 1996
 
 

 
 

Ambrose Harris was sentenced to death by lethal injection in 1996 after kidnapping and killing 22-year-old artist Kristin Huggins.  According to testimony, Harris decided to carjack someone because it was raining.  He abducted Higgins, locked her in the trunk of his car for hours, anally raped her, shot her twice in the head, and buried her.

His female accomplice during the crime testified against him.  He was also accused of the assualt of at least four other women.

In court, Harris spit on the floor, cussed out the judge, and proclaimed his innocence.  His lawyers argued he should be spared the death penalty due to his abusive upbringing.

In 1999, Harris stomped another death-row inmate in NJ State Prison - Robert "Mudman" Simon - to death.  His lawyers argued self defense, and a jury acquitted him.


Ambrose Harris

On December 17, 1992, Kristin Huggins, a twenty-two year old graphic artist, left her parents’ home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to paint a mural at the Trenton Club in downtown Trenton. That same morning, Ambrose Harris determined that he would commit a holdup, and enlisted one Gloria Dunn to assist him. Just out of prison after serving 13 years, Harris spotted Kristin Huggins drive her red Toyota into the parking lot of the Trenton Club, and announced “I’m going to get that bitch.” He accosted Ms. Huggins, commandeered her car, and drove off after his accomplice Gloria Dunn, joined them in the car.

Harris drove to a deserted area under a bridge near Route One and Perry Street, where he forced Kristin Huggins into the trunk. He then drove the car around, eventually returning to the area under the bridge. There, he took Kristin out of the trunk and raped her. He then put her back in the trunk, and shot her in the back of the head. He hid the body under a mattress in the deserted area. Harris then left to get a shovel to bury her body. When he returned, he shot her again, this time in the face, to be sure she was dead. He then dug a shallow grave in which he and his accomplice buried Kristin Huggins.

The killing took place Dec. 17, 1992, and the victim’s body wasn't found until Feb. 18, 1993. Gloria Dunn -- apparently hoping to collect the posted $25,000 reward -- contacted the police months after the murder, claiming to be a psychic who could lead them to the missing young woman. Her dubious story quickly unravelled, and she confessed to her role in the kidnapping and slaying of Huggins, after leading police to her badly decomposed body.

By the time he was tried, convicted and given the death sentence for her murder, Harris was already serving a life term in prison, required to spend 30 years in jail without parole as a persistent offender for an unrelated 1993 armed robbery conviction.

According to news accounts, when Harris was sentenced in 1996, he was asked if he had anything to say to his victim’s parents, who were in the courtroom . Harris turned and suggested that Huggins’ parents apologize to him. His outburst caused the judge to remove him from the courtroom.

Ambrose Harris remains on death row, having added another murder to his resume. While on Death Row, Harris attacked and killed another Death Row inmate, Robert “Mudman” Simon, a beefy, scraggly long-haired and long-bearded 48-year-old outlaw biker, with several previous murder convictions. Simon was convicted in 1974 for killing his girlfriend after she refused to cooperate in her gang rape by Simon’s friends and fellow Warlocks. While serving time for that heinous murder at Graterford Prison in Philadelphia, he knifed and killed another inmate in 1984. Like his future killer, Simon pleaded self-defense and was acquitted. Despite his two killings, Simon was paroled.

Only 11 weeks later, Simon murdered police Sgt. Ippolito (Lee) Gonzalez in Gloucester County, New Jersey. This third murder earned him the death penalty.

ProDeathPenaltyNJ.com


Ambrose Harris

Last year (2001) a jury in Freehold, New Jersey found that Ambrose Harris had acted in self-defense when he brutally beat and killed his fellow death-row inmate Robert "Mudman" Simon in 1999. But there are no innocents in this story, save the victims of Simon and Harris.

Simon, casually referred to in the press and even by former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman as "Mudman" - as if he were a recognizable one-name entertainer like Madonna or Prince - was killed as he entered the indoor recreation module of the death row unit. Violence, more than the state supplied board games, was the recreational activity of choice for both Simon and Harris.

According to the grand jury testimony of one of the prison correctional officers, Simon entered the "rec cage" and charged Harris. The officer rang the riot bell as he witnessed Harris slam Simon to the ground and continually punch him about the face. When Simon stopped struggling, Harris got up and began to kick him in the face. The corrections officers, who were not armed, did not enter the cage or attempt to break up the fight, which lasted little more than a minute. No weapon was used, officials said – or needed, I might add.

When announcing that Harris would be indicted for Simon’s murder, Mercer County Prosecutor Daniel G. Giaquinto said Simon died from massive cranio-facial injuries that were consistent with having been inflicted by someone forcefully and repeatedly stomping on his face.

Simon, a beefy, scraggly long-haired and long-bearded 48-year-old outlaw biker, was a real sweetheart. He was convicted in 1974 for killing his girlfriend after she refused to cooperate in her gang rape by Simon’s friends and fellow Warlocks. While serving time for that heinous murder at Graterford Prison in Philadelphia, he knifed and killed another inmate in 1984. Like his future killer, Simon pleaded self-defense and was acquitted. Despite his two killings, Simon was paroled.

Only 11 weeks later, Simon murdered police Sgt. Ippolito (Lee) Gonzalez in Gloucester County, New Jersey. Well, so much for rehabilitation. His third murder earned him the death penalty. While on death row, he was known to brag that he had in fact murdered a fourth person.

Harris, another sweetheart, was on death row for the kidnapping, rape and murder of 22-year-old Kristen Huggins in 1992. Prior to his death sentence, he was serving a life term in prison and required to serve 30 years without parole as a persistent offender from an unrelated 1993-armed robbery conviction.

Just out of prison in 1992 after serving 13 years, Harris and a woman companion attacked Huggins, a graphic artist on her way to do a job. Harris placed her in the trunk of her car and they drove off. Harris later sodomized her, shot her in the head and buried her.

Harris’ partner in crime contacted the police months later and said she was a psychic who could lead them to the missing young woman. Her dubious story of course came quickly unglued and she confessed to her role in the kidnapping and slaying of Huggins. She agreed to testify against Harris.

According to news accounts, when Harris was sentenced in 1996, he was asked if he had anything to say to the victims’ parents, who were in attendance. Harris turned and suggested that Huggins’ parents apologize to him. His outburst caused the judge to remove him from the courtroom.

The race factor often enters the death penalty debate, but Simon happened to be white and Harris happened to be black. Race played no part in their convictions and death sentences and it probably had little to do with their prison altercations and ultimate death match.


Court upholds Ambrose Harris death sentence

by Associated Press

Tuesday December 04, 2007

NEWARK -- A unanimous state Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the death sentence for Ambrose Harris, the convicted killer of Bucks County, Pa., artist Kristin Huggins, ruling that the special circumstances that removed another killer from death row did not apply to Harris.

The 7-0 decision rejected the latest appeal by Harris, finding that the inmate could not muster a majority of sitting justices who had sided with him on prior appeals.

The ruling, however, may have little practical effect for Harris and the seven other inmates on the state's death row at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, since New Jersey may be on the verge of scrapping the death penalty.

The decision means Harris has no further recourse in state courts, said his lawyer, James K. Smith Jr., an assistant deputy state public defender. Harris has an appeal pending in federal court.

David Wald, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office, said they agreed with Tuesday's ruling, but that the prior decision allowing the other killer to leave death row was wrong and should be overturned.

Harris, 55, had been sentenced to death in 1996 for murdering Huggins, 22, of Lower Makefield, Pa., whom he kidnapped and raped in 1992.

The Harris ruling is based on a July 2006 decision in which the state Supreme Court overturned the death sentence for Anthony DiFrisco, a hit man who said he was paid $2,500 to shoot a Maplewood pizzeria owner in 1986.

DiFrisco's successful appeal centered on complex procedural issues involving the type and timing of reviews afforded in capital cases. The ruling determined that DiFrisco's death sentence must be overturned because a majority of justices had voted -- at various times and for various reasons -- to sentence him to life in prison.

The court on Tuesday did not find the same circumstances existed for Harris, in part, because two justices who heard the first Harris appeal were no longer on the court when it considered the proportionality review. It noted that to find four justices who had voted to overturn his death penalty, Harris essentially counted one justice twice.

While in prison in September 1999, Harris killed a fellow death row inmate, kicking and stomping 48-year-old Robert "Mudman" Simon to death. A jury in 2001 found that Harris acted in self-defense and found him innocent of murder and manslaughter charges.

On Monday, New Jersey moved closer to becoming the first state to abolish the death penalty since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated it in 1976 when a Senate committee approved replacing capital punishment with life in prison without parole. The full Senate is to consider the bill before the legislative session ends on Jan. 8, and the bill should get a vote by the full Assembly this month. Gov. Jon S. Corzine, a death penalty foe, supports the bill.

New Jersey reinstated the death penalty in 1982, but hasn't executed anyone since 1963.



 

Ambrose Harris

 

 

 
 
 
 
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