Defense attorney: Akee Harris acted in self-defense during murder of Edwin Saddler

Akee Harris

Akee Harris

The brother of a city man accused of fatally stabbing a former Trenton Central High School football player last month said Wednesday his brother is not a violent person and was defending himself against “three known criminals” who jumped him outside his home.

That is not how prosecutors said it happened at a bail hearing for Akee Harris, 26, of Ellsworth Avenue. Harris is charged with murder and weapons offenses for allegedly stabbing 22-year-old Edwin Saddler to death June 23.

Harris’ attorney, Jumba Mugwanya, said his client was unarmed and acted in self-defense when he was jumped by three men who were reportedly waiting for him when he pulled up with his girlfriend to his city residence on Ellsworth Avenue.

“The knife was introduced by the other party,” Mugwanya said.

Superior Court Judge Gerald Council heard both attorneys’ versions before reducing bail to $500,000 from $1 million.

The judge told Assistant Prosecutor Skylar Weissman the case against Harris “doesn’t appear to be a slam dunk.”

Harris has no prior criminal record, and his relationship to the victim is unclear, although prosecutors said the men knew each other.

Edwin Saddler

Edwin Saddler

Saddler had apparently tried to intervene in a fight between Harris and another man who was not identified in court, Weissman said. Saddler was stabbed multiple times and died hours later at the hospital.

Harris was also injured in the fray.

His brother, Kareem Harris, told The Trentonian he suffered bruises, in addition to the cut prosecutors said he sustained on his hand. He was treated for his injuries at a hospital in Hopewell around the same time Saddler was hospitalized in Trenton. Akee Harris required 71 stitches to close his wound, his brother said.

Kareem Harris said he had spoken with his brother about 15 minutes before the fight, which broke out shortly after Akee Harris got home following his shift at a car-detailing shop.

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