A man who killed his own father in 1982 and had previous convictions for sexual assault has been arrested for the murder of recent Drexel grad in her apartment, police said.
Philadelphia police said James Harris, 56, sexually assaulted and killed Jasmine Wright, 27, after he had broken into her apartment near 50th and Locust.
Harris is a career criminal with 31 prior arrests and had been fired a week before the July 16 murder and had been banned from the building, Homicide Unit Captain James Clark said.
“He’s a monster,” Clark said.
Witnesses said Harris was inside Wright’s apartment when she came home from a workout. She was talking to her mother in Virginia when the line went dead.
She was beaten, strangled and sexually assaulted on the floor. Investigators believe was later found
Several neighbors saw Harris enter the building. Police picked Harris up on burglary charges, and then confirmed that he had been inside the apartment through DNA evidence.
Clark said members of the Crime Scene Unit worked on their days off on the case, and detectives worked around the clock.
Wright, a New York City native had completed a masters degree in public health at Drexel less than a month before her death.
It’s unclear exactly how Harris secured a job that gave him keys to an apartment building with his lengthy record.
Clark said Harris may have been an acquaintance of the building’s owner.
He was fired for not doing his job, Clark said, but was not asked to return the keys.
Harris has not given a statement to police.