ST. GEORGE — There was no doubt that Jimi Redman Jr., accused of murder in the death of 57-year-old Lynn Harrison of Summerville three days before Easter, was going to stay behind bars after his bond hearing before a circuit judge Thursday morning.
But it took Harrison’s family all the strength they could muster to sit in the same room with him to make sure of it.
“It was very difficult,” Shanna Groves, 34, Harrison’s daughter, said after the hearing. “You can’t put words on that, honestly, to see him.”
It was hard enough for the family to see Redman via a video feed from the jail at his first bond hearing in Summerville on April 3, the day after Harrison was randomly shot to death at a stoplight by a man in military fatigues waving a rifle. James Mark Harrison, her husband, was visibly shaking that day and had to be restrained by family members as he yelled at Redman on the monitor. A magistrate can’t set bail on a murder charge, and Redman stayed in jail.
This time Redman was in the courtroom, his head hanging as he stood in front of the judge in an orange-and-white jumpsuit. His attorney, Mark Leiendecker with the public defender’s office, told Circuit Judge Ferrell Cothran that Redman doesn’t remember driving to South Carolina from Fort Worth, Texas, stopping in Summerville or shooting Lynn Harrison. He said Redman suffers from some sort of head injury and post-traumatic stress disorder from his Army service and couldn’t get the help he needed.
First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe argued those were the very reasons Redman should stay in jail. Cothran agreed, saying Redman was obviously both a flight risk and a danger to society.
Harrison’s husband sat through the hearing quietly, although he couldn’t bring himself to look at Redman.
“God is helping us a lot,” he said after the hearing. “We’re all right. I think time will heal us.”
Groves was more visibly upset. She cried all the way through the hearing.
“We’re a close-knit family. We all live close together,” she said afterward, “We’re just going to stick together and pray. That’s about all you can do right now.”
Lynn Harrison also has a son, 26-year-old James Harrison II, and two grandsons through her daughter. She was on her way to meet her son for lunch when she was killed.
She had worked for more than a decade at McKesson in North Charleston and was active in Northwood Church, where she was a greeter.
Both husband and daughter said they couldn’t fully recover until Redman is sentenced to life in prison without parole.
“That’s what I would like to see,” James Mark Harrison said. “A slow death, slow death. The same rights my wife had, that’s what I want for him. The same chance she had, which is death.”
Harrison, a Vietnam veteran, bristled at the notion that PTSD caused Redman to kill his wife.
“He’s gotta be a coward. I’ve never heard of anybody coming back from war and going and killing an innocent person. The military teaches you you do not kill innocent people, first and foremost. So whatever defense he’s trying to use — PTSD, mental illness, blah, blah, blah — that’s not true.”
Police said Redman pulled up in the right lane beside Lynn Harrison’s GMC Terrain in a red SUV with Texas tags about 1:30 p.m. April 2 while she was sitting at a red light near Bacons Bridge and Trolley roads, shot her in the neck through the passenger’s side window and drove off through the red light.
Pascoe said at the hearing that Redman shot Harrison with a 30-30 rifle.
Redman was arrested as he was returning to the scene, according to police.
Nobody has said why Redman was in Summerville. His brother said he may have been looking for a friend who lives somewhere in South Carolina.
The Army has not yet released his records, and a Department of Veterans Affairs spokesperson said they could not comment because of privacy concerns.
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.