Morristown Train Station Murder Case


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Joseph Sannito, Staff Writer

Lamar A. Harris, 33, and a 2007 graduate of Morristown High School, was accused of the murder of Matthew Palla, 60, in a stairwell at the Morristown train station. According to the prosecutor, evidence points to Harris having motive and opportunity, while on the other hand public defender Brittany Calzone claims that the evidence is circumstantial at best. 

A little over a week ago Harris was taken into custody for robbing and fatally wounding Matthew Palla with a brick at the station. Harris was arrested while he was sleeping on a bench two days after the incident (Coughlin).

Evidence against Harris: Harris and Palla were both sighted at 7-Eleven on Morris Street late on Sunday of March 28th. Palla was seen wielding a stack of $100 bills while paying the cashier. The two were seen departing from 7-Eleven at around 11:20 pm. Roughly an hour later, 911 calls were being reported about a body found in the train station stairwell. The weapon was a brick probably taken from a construction site close by. Also, surveillance videos display Harris tailing Palla toward the station, and later a man who appeared similar in description to Harris running from the station (Coughlin). 

Lack of Evidence against Harris: There is no video evidence, witnesses, or fingerprints on the brick. Also, there is no other DNA evidence. Additionally, Harris didn’t obtain Palla’s cell phone. Although the money on Palla was clearly missing, Harris was not found with the money, instead, all he had was two dollars, two bags of Cheetos, and two packs of gummy bears. It’s very likely that Palla could have spent the money on substances as he may have had a drug addiction. Harris has a criminal history, despite none of them being violent crimes (Coughlin).

All in all, as citizens of New Jersey we should understand the urgency of the authorities to find the culprit and bring safety, but to also acknowledge that in America everyone should be viewed as innocent until proven guilty.