Families discuss ballpark murder

first_img Greg’s parents said the media portrayal of their son was not accurate. “He’s not that monster that he’s been portrayed as. He’s a very kind-hearted person, a good kid,” Gigi Harris said. They said their son pulled the bat out of his bag because he was scared of Jeremy, who was older and bigger. They said Greg weighed 87 pounds, and Jeremy 190. “I think it was more of a fear factor for him with the size difference, and it just escalated,” Gigi Harris said. “(The teasing) would not stop; it just kept going and going. And he didn’t know how to get himself out of the situation … because he hasn’t been in a confrontation (like that).” The Rourkes disputed the claims that their son had been bullying and provoking Greg before he was killed. They also dismissed the idea that their son was destructive or overly aggressive in some way. In a vigil after the incident, the Rourkes issued a statement in which they asked that Greg not be vilified for their son’s death. They also said they preferred Greg be tried as a juvenile, thus avoiding a potential life sentence. “He was a good boy, and he made a bad mistake,” Angela Rourke said. The Harrises said they visit their son every weekend at a detention center. They are worried about how much he will change during his incarceration. “Hopefully, he’ll be L.G. when he returns home,” Gigi Harris said. “He’s mentoring other kids now (at the center). That’s his personality, to help other kids stay out of trouble.” “Our hearts – my heart and my wife’s – go out,” Greg Harris Sr. said. “When I visit my son, I always think about (Jeremy). I think about (Brian Rourke), because I know, as a father, it hurts me just because my son is not home. I have to see him once a week. I can’t put myself in his shoes, but I can imagine how he feels.” The Rourkes said Jeremy lived life to the fullest. “I’ll tell you, he lived life every day,” Brian Rourke said. “He was always full of life all the time, no matter where he was. One thing we’ve actually learned from this is to live life a little fuller. You never know when something’s going to happen.” Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The case of a 13-year-old Palmdale boy convicted of murder for hitting a 15-year-old with a bat after a youth baseball game was on the national stage again Friday on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” The parents of Greg Harris Jr., the boy sentenced to a juvenile facility until age 25 for second-degree murder in the killing of Jeremy Rourke, and Rourke’s parents appeared on the show to talk about the case. The parents of the boys disagreed about the fairness of the 12-year maximum sentence, and both sides took issue with how their sons were portrayed in court testimony and in the news media. Greg’s parents, Gigi and Greg Sr., think that while some punishment is appropriate, the 12-year sentence their son, nicknamed Little Greg or L.G., received was too harsh. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals “I want everyone to know our hearts do go out to the Rourkes, and we know that this was a mistake,” Gigi Harris said on the show. “We know, and my son knows, this was an accident. He didn’t intentionally go to that baseball field to harm Jeremy.” Rourke’s parents, Brian and Angela Rourke, had a different opinion. “If (L.G.) were tried as an adult, he would have gotten 15 (years) to life. And age-wise he was within, what, a few months of being at that age to be tried as an adult,” Brian Rourke said. The 13-year-old was sentenced in July to confinement in the California Youth Authority until he is 25. He can be released before he turns 25 if CYA officials deem it is appropriate, officials said. The boy struck the older teen in the knee, then seconds later hit him in the head with an aluminum bat on April 12 near the snack bar at the Palmdale PONY League baseball field. Jeremy had teased the boy about losing a game and pushed him, witnesses said. Jeremy died about two hours later at a hospital. last_img read more