ITHACA, N.Y.—Garaus Henry of Lansing entered a guilty plea to second-degree manslaughter and criminal possession of a deadly weapon in relation to the shoot-out car chase in March 2021.

Henry appeared in court on Feb. 24, 2022, and admitted to firing an illegal handgun in March 2021 during a two-vehicle high-speed chase in the Town of Lansing, which ended with both vehicles crashing. Sha-heem Harris, the 21-year-old from Elmira, died of multiple blunt force traumas suffered during the car accident that ended the chase, but not as a direct result of a gunshot wound. In total, four people were hospitalized after the incident.

“The death of Sha-heem Harris was tragic and senseless,” Van Houten said. “The acceptance of responsibility by the defendant is significant, as are the associated consequences. The conduct of everyone involved in this conflict, especially Garaus Henry, was reckless and unacceptable in our community. Unfortunately, a young man lost his life in the course of this completely avoidable accident.”

The maximum sentence for a manslaughter conviction is an indeterminate term of five to 15 years in a New York State prison. According to the District Attorney’s office, indeterminate sentences mean the defendant receives a range with a minimum and maximum number of years in prison, and the minimum must be served before parole is considered. Henry will be sentenced to a maximum term of five to 15 years in state prison for the manslaughter charge plus a concurrent term of three and a half years in prison for charge related to possessing a deadly weapon.

Van Houten prosecuted the case and Henry was represented by Ralph Franco of Brooklyn. Formal sentencing is scheduled for June 24, 2022 before County Court Judge John Rowley.

Zoë Freer-Hessler

Zoë Freer-Hessler is a general assignment reporter for the Ithaca Voice. She has covered a wide range of topics since joining the news organization in November 2021. She can be reached at zhessler@ithacavoice.com...