Jamie Lea Harmer and her killer, Christopher Marcus Brown
IVERSIDE – A 29-year man who was charged in 2014 for the murder of a transient woman was convicted on Monday for the crime.
On Monday, March 7, a Riverside County Superior Court convicted Christopher Marcus Brown of second-degree murder. The murdered woman was dismembered and her remains were found in plastic bags along railroad tracks of Panorama Road in Riverside on April 27, 2014.
Brown initially denied knowing the victim, Jamie Lea Harmer, 32, but neighbors reported they had seen a woman and heard suspicious noises at their apartment complex. Police described Harmer as a transient who had been in Riverside since early March that year. Her last permanent address was in Thief River Falls, Minn.
Police apprehended Brown on an unrelated felony warrant at his Riverside apartment and questioned him about Harmer’s death. Brown eventually admitted that the two had shared methamphetamine and claimed that the woman’s death occurred in an act of self-defense. Detectives and forensic technicians reportedly spent 18 hours searching his apartment and discovered physical evidence related to the crime.
Brown testified in court that that Harmer threw a drug scale at his face while trying to flee with Brown’s hidden drug stash. Harmer stated that he put his arm around her and brought her to the ground. She did not appear to be breathing or to have a pulse. Rather than summoning help, Brown fled to San Bernardino for a couple weeks.
When Brown returned to his apartment, there was an overwhelming smell of decomposing body. According to the Press Enterprise, Brown described in detail to the jury how he cut up and bagged body parts so he could leave through a window without detection to dispose of the remains.
Brown faces 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced April 11, according to John Hall, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office spokesman.