Teen accused in robberies, shooting had been charged before

by: Mark Becker Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A Charlotte teenager charged with two robberies and a shooting remains in the Mecklenburg County Jail after making his first court appearance on those charges.

Jaelin Harris, 17, is one of two suspects charged with robbery and shooting a man outside an Aldi's grocery store in south Charlotte early Tuesday morning.

They are also charged with robbing a woman of her cellphone several hours earlier as she walked down the Plaza toward a friend’s house.

"He just put the gun to my waist and said unlock the phone before I shoot you," Kim Johnson said.

Court records show Harris has been there before only to have the charges against him dismissed.

Police had arrested Harris three different times in January in connection with several robberies of students at Olympic High School.

Several weeks later, each of those charges was dismissed because prosecutors said no witnesses could identify him as one of the suspects in those robberies.

In court Friday, Harris's parents told the judge that the media have rushed to judgment and that their son should be innocent til proven guilty.

The founder of Mecklenburg County's Courtwatch program said the system is too lenient on young offenders.

"This individual was arrested in January, out the same day," Marcus Philemon said.  "Because there's a sympathetic factor in our criminal justice system it doesn't want to hold youthful offenders accountable.”

Eyewitness News contacted the Mecklenburg County district attorney's office, but officials there declined to comment because Harris is facing new charges.