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Man sentenced to 58 years in prison for murder of corrections officer

Rhema Harris was a CO with the St. Joseph County Police Department and a decorated U.S. Army veteran

CO Rhema Harris.jpg

St. Joseph County Police Department

By Sarah Roebuck

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A 19-year-old was sentenced to prison after being found guilty of the murder of an off-duty corrections officer, WNDU reports.

Braxton Bird was sentenced on Thursday to 58 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections for the murder of 28-year-old Rhema Harris. Bird was also sentenced to three years for criminal recklessness to be served consecutively.

Harris died in June 2022 after suffering a gunshot wound to her chest in a drive-by shooting. Bird, who was 17 at the time, was one of two people firing out of the vehicle. Bird was found guilty in October for his role in the shooting.

At the time of the shooting, Detective Bureau Division Chief Dan Gebo explained that Harris was not the target and she was just “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Harris was a corrections officer with the St. Joseph County Police Department and was a decorated U.S. Army veteran.

“Rhema proudly served her country in the United States Army,” St. Joseph County Sheriff William Redman said. “She received a national defense service award, global war on terrorism service medal and an Army service ribbon, before being honorably discharged in 2016.”