What if you cheated death thrice, surviving three potentially fatal surgeries only to be killed in a break-in? This is the tragic story of Jonathan Harris, who survived three life-risking surgeries only to be a victim of a fatal robbery case in his family apartment. The case was an open-and-shut one, with the details of the investigation detailed in Investigation Discovery’s true crime show ‘Murder Calls: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.’
It narrates a heartbreaking tale of a man named Jonathan Harris fighting death all his life only to succumb to the injuries inflicted by burglars. It is a harrowing story of human cruelty and a mother fighting all odds to bring justice for her son. If you wish to know all the details of the case and the perpetrators, including their whereabouts, we have got you covered. Here is all you need to know!
How Did Jonathan Harris Die?
Jonathan Edward Terril Harris was a resident of Silver Spring in Montgomery County, Maryland. The 26-year-old grew up with two siblings, Lloyd Harris and Sidney Gaines, and was quite close to his parents, father, Richard, and mother, Patricia. Jonathan knew what death looked like from a young age. He was only 12-years-old when his sole kidney failed after years of dialysis. His father revealed that Jonathan’s brother, Lloyd Harris, stepped up to donate his kidney. But unfortunately, Jonathan’s body began rejecting the kidney, leading the Harrises to scramble for one.
Their search for a kidney ended when Jonathan became a participant in a transplant exchange program that connected recipients with donors, with Patricia donating one of her kidneys to receive one for her son in return. The whole program was wholesomely documented in a segment on NBC’s ‘Today.’ Jonathan found a suitable kidney in 2010 and also survived an open-heart surgery. The young man had also survived chronic asthma. He was only 22 when he underwent a kidney transplant for the second time.
Jonathan had been residing in the converted basement of his mother’s apartment, with a separate entrance. Patricia thought it was for his own good as he recovered slowly and went on with his life. Jonathan was reportedly responding positively to his new kidney. He was attending Montgomery College with plans of transferring to his mom’s alma mater, Elizabeth City State University. Like his brother, Jonathan, too, shared a liking for music and was performing as a DJ in Washington. As per Patricia, her son was a rapper, writer, artist, and overall a gifted individual.
All was going well in Jonathan’s life until December 5, 2014, when he did not pick up his mother’s repeated calls. The following morning, at around 10:30 am, Patricia went over to find her son’s car in the driveway and the door ajar. She quickly moved into the basement to find the body of her son, all bloody and beaten with a belt tied to his wrists in an attempt to tie his hands. Her heart sank at the horrific sight, and she immediately dialed 911.
The police rushed to the crime scene and noted that although there were no signs of forced entry, a couple of items were missing — a Sony PlayStation, two televisions, and credit cards. It was examined that Harris was brutally beaten and strangled and underwent severe trauma to the upper body. As per the autopsy, Jonathan died as a result of asphyxia. Based on the initial evidence and report, the authorities ruled Jonathan’s death a homicide and suspected burglary.
Who Killed Jonathan Harris?
The investigators at the scene decided to track the activities of Jonathan’s credit cards right after his murder and traced one of them to a local gas station. Police identified the suspects when they used one of Jonathan’s credit cards to purchase $30.89 worth of fast food at a Riverdale drive-through deli. Surveillance video and images helped the authorities identify the individuals – Samantha Carol Parker (then-26) and Latoya Rennell Morgan (aged 33) were arrested on December 23, while the authorities arrested Dion Ramon Sobotker a day later.
All three suspects were charged with first-degree murder and robbery. The authorities soon learned that Rockville resident Samantha Carol Parker was Jonathan’s ex-girlfriend. Though they received no information on the timeline of their relationship, Jonathan’s father stated that Parker had moved in with Jonathan went he went to visit his son in August. Parker already had a criminal record with convictions on charges of forgery and theft and even tested positive for PCP and marijuana while out on probation. It was also alleged that Parker threatened to physically hurt Harris with the aid of a few people.
Jonathan was last seen alive while withdrawing cash from an ATM at a 7-Eleven in Silver Spring at 8.30 in the morning on December 5, 2014. His last known interaction was with a friend whom he called around a couple of minutes later. Investigations showed that Morgan, Parker, and Sobotker pulled up at the apartment of the 22-year-old later in the morning, with the other two going inside while Morgan waited in the car.
The authorities believed that Parker might have dropped in pretending to pick up her belongings from Jonathan’s place. It justified the absence of forced entry that is typical with a break-in. However, things might not have gone smoothly, resulting in Sobotker beating and strangling Jonathan to death and the two robbing the young man of his belongings. Upon searching Sobotker’s place, the authorities recovered Jonathan’s Playstation as well a pair of tennis shoes. A forensic examination later proved that spots of blood belonging to Jonathan were found on the shoes.
Where is Dion Sobotker Today?
Patricia took the witness stand, and her emotional testimony became the focal point of the murder trial that concluded with Dion Sobotker being convicted of first-degree murder in March 2016. Latoya Morgan took a plea deal in exchange for dropping the first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit robbery. She pled guilty to being an accomplice after the fact and agreed to testify against the other two. Morgan was sentenced to five years in prison.
Detectives pinpointed Samantha Parker as the one who orchestrated the attack on Jonathan. However, she died of a brain tumor in prison in December 2015 while awaiting trial. In May 2016, Sobotker, who was convicted of first-degree murder, robbery, and conspiracy to commit robbery, was sentenced to life in prison, reduced to 40 years. As per records, Sobotker is currently incarcerated at the maximum security prison of Jessup Correctional Institution in Maryland. A teary-eyed Patricia was satisfied with the judgment and went to say on the record, “I feel a sigh of relief. I feel that I got justice for my son.”