A man convicted in Caddo District Court of aggravated flight from an officer failed to return to court after his jury was chosen, was tried in absentia, and now faces a prison term of up to life after he is apprehended.

A bench warrant was issued by District Judge John D. Mosely for Willie J. Harris, 30, who failed to return to court Tuesday, June 12, 2018, after his jury was selected. Judge Mosely ruled that the trial had commenced and that Harris had absconded voluntarily, and allowed the trial to proceed with Harris absent.

The jury returned after 14 minutes with a verdict of guilty as charged of aggravated flight from an officer, in connection with a February 24, 2018 incident in which he evaded a police stop in the 1000 block of Marshall Street after allegedly menacing employees of a bar with his vehicle. During his flight, Harris ran a stop sign exceeded the speed limit in downtown Shreveport by at least 25 mph and reached 100 mph on Interstate 20 westbound before crashing his vehicle into a fence in a neighborhood and fleeing on foot.

As a multiple felony offender, Harris faces a sentence of 20 years to life, sentence to be imposed once he is recaptured and return to face Judge Mosely. Harris’s past convictions include unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling in 2006, possession with intent to distribute a Schedule I controlled dangerous substance in 2008, possession of a Schedule II dangerous controlled substance in 2015 and attempted possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in 2016.

Harris was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Sam Crichton and Ron Christopher Stamps. He was defended by Stan Lockard.