Who Killed Mecca Harris?

Two years later city cops are releasing new information to help solve the murder of a little girl.

By Steve Volk
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 9 | Posted Dec. 14, 2005

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That the Philadelphia Police Department chose to put out this information now is perhaps a mark of their growing frustration. "It's been a long time now," says Boyle. "We've looked at a lot of leads. But we always come back to the same guy."

Police interviews with the suspect's relatives and friends paint a portrait of a violent young man marked by a strange obsession with Daryl Bynum. They say he spoke openly about having robbed Bynum in the week before his murder and declared his intent to rob him again. He talked about Bynum's money and drugs.

He usually operated in the area of 32nd and Diamond, robbing drug dealers and the stray Drexel student. This string of other robberies landed him in prison.

Her other life: Lezlie Hiner poses with Mecca's polo horse Beuda.
In a few cases he stole cell phones, using them after the robberies to make personal phone calls to an aunt. He also stole a cell phone from Bynum after murdering him. He didn't use it to call his aunt, but he did call a former cellmate, a convicted drug dealer he met inside the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility.

"It fits," says Boyle. "Say he forces them all down to the basement, where Bynum might've stashed his drugs. Who are you gonna call to unload drugs? You're gonna call a drug dealer."

And there's more: The alleged shooter turned up in people's homes playing with a new silver flip-top cell phone exactly like Bynum's. One of his running buddies, either Raheem/Kareem or Holey Moley, showed off a gun that matched the make and model of the weapon used in the triple homicide. And police have information that their suspect obtained the same make and model in advance of the murders. But the most suggestive information comes from people describing the shooter's odd behavior and cryptic comments directly after the bodies were discovered.

"Don't be surprised if you see me on the news," he told one person.

Some questioned him about the murder directly, and one asked if he could kill a child. "Yes I could," he supposedly said. "If a child's there when I'm robbing, then she has to die."

According to police interview records, the witness noticed that telling switch: They had mentioned "a child," but the shooter used the personal pronoun "she."

And then there's Boyle, who brought the presumed gunman into an interview room and felt certain he was staring at the killer.

"He laughed at me," says Boyle. "He said, 'You don't have enough to charge me, do you? You ain't got me!' with this big smile on his face."

Today Boyle says he might have enough information for an arrest warrant, but some of his evidence wouldn't be admissible in court. "This is a big case," he says. "I don't blame the district attorney's office for not pressing charges. We all want to be sure we have enough information for a conviction. And I know there's someone out there who can give us the information to break this case."

On Oct. 15, 2003, Nifeesia "Fee" Harris didn't panic when she couldn't reach her mother or Mecca by phone. She figured they were spending time with another relative.

But once she arrived at work that night, transcribing data for an insurance agency in Delaware County, she started having visions. First she saw the face of her mother, who looked frightened. Then she saw her mother and Mecca, huddled together in the dark.

Murder cops: Dets. Chuck Boyle (right) and Jeff Piree await a break in the case.
She left work early the next morning, and knew something was wrong the second she looked through the small diamond-shaped window on her mother's front door.

Light flooded into the house. The back door was open. She drove home to get her boyfriend Sam Malette. Together they went inside.

They hollered for Mecca. They hollered for Sheila. They went upstairs. Sheila Harris and Daryl Bynum's bedroom had been ransacked. The dresser drawers-yanked out. The mattress-flipped over. The television-knocked to the floor. They came back downstairs.

Malette reached for the phone to call the police, but the cord came loose in his hand, having been yanked from the wall. "I was standing there with the phone in my hand," says Malette, "and out of the corner of my eye I saw the basement door."

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Comments 1 - 9 of 9
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1. Mrs. Yvonne Fields-Woodson said... on Jan 5, 2012 at 02:41AM

“As I write, I cry because I knew Mecca , Sheila and Fee-Fee back in 1990 when Mecca when was a charming 1 year old and Fee-Fee was a stunningly sweet going- on teenager. I had a daughter named Deloris and a new baby named Christopher with red hair. We shared friends like Stacey and her daughter Syreeta and Corrine and her kids as well as Wendy and her 2 daughters. We all shared a residence at 40th and Lancaster for about 2 years caring for each others kids like they were our own I loved all these women Shirley, Latavia because there we were family. Sheila and Shirley were like my big sisters (I'm an only child) Shirley taught me southern cooking secrets and how to be happy and Sheila taught me how to live thru all lifes bs. Sheila loves "Chookie looc" and her "Fee-Fee" because she told me one night in her room she knew her Princesses would be Great Queens one day and God answered her prayers and gave her that strong queens so I see Sheila and Mecca smiling cause nothing hurts no more I”

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2. Anonymous said... on Jan 16, 2012 at 06:03AM

“Mecca and family r.i.p it's ur dear friend I miss u and you will never be forgotten. One love”

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3. Callie Phillips said... on Jan 8, 2013 at 06:31AM

“We went to school together ... We rode horses together , We played basketball and football together she was like a Cousin to my family mecca and my grandpa was so close ...I remember this day like no other I was only 13 years old and cryed until there was no more tears left...Rip Mecca I live my life through my childhood friends that were lost in west Philadelphia gone but not forgotten”

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4. robert benn said... on Mar 22, 2013 at 01:22AM

“My cousin was Darrell bynum he was a good man despite his street life.... everyday I ask that the 3 souls that was sent back to heaven is in gods grace”

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5. Anonymous said... on Apr 28, 2013 at 08:31AM

“Darrell aka Brother was a pervert/asshole.
His day was coming!!! Rest in hell.”

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6. Cynquetta b. said... on May 31, 2013 at 10:07PM

“Never and I mean never was my uncle anything but sweet. No matter what lifestyle he may have lived, nobody deserved to be murdered! Those who feel that way should look in the mirror. I lived with all 3 and I loved them all! Until we meet again ?✌”

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7. Anonymous said... on Oct 16, 2013 at 09:52PM

“How disgusting for this Neugent person to badmouth Hiner, whom he doesn't even know, when she has devoted her life to helping children. Shame on him and any others as indicated by the author in this "Black Cowboys Assoc.". They better clean up their act and stop acting like prejudiced bigots. If they were angels who taught children to ride, that's good. But they should not begrudge other angels merely because of their skin color. Something is VERY wrong there...

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8. Nifeesia said... on May 11, 2015 at 06:29AM

“I would like to say that I thank you all for your kind words and beautiful memories of my family. Yvonne!!!! Love you and I know your family has grown up beautifully . I miss you and your family.

This was the 1st time I revisited this article online since its making. Wow! Memories flooded back to that time and tears had no choice but to pour out on the complete tragedy of that day and time.

Loving memories is all that I will forever hold! Again thanks to all who shared.”

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9. Porche Morris said... on Sep 25, 2015 at 09:33AM

“Sitting here thinking about you Mecca, my eyes all watery man I miss you & love you so much...Continue to Rest In Peace”


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