El Paso jury deliberating fate of Fort Bliss soldier accused of murder


An El Paso jury heard closing arguments and is now deliberating in the case of a former Fort Bliss soldier accused of killing another man in the desert last year.

Cornelius Harrison is charged with murder in connection with the slaying of Frank Hernandez, who was found dead near Hueco Tanks. 

On Monday, the prosecution called Quinton Whitfield, who was described as the “star witness” by the defense, to the stand. Whitfield was with Harrison and two other men the day that Hernandez was killed.

Whitfield testified that Harrison and Hernandez were talking when he heard a gunshot and then everyone started running. Whitfield also told the court that he drove the three men back when they were searching for evidence.

During Whitfield’s testimony, Harrison did not look at the witness.

Kyle Jones and Shane Taft were the two other men who were at the scene that night. El Paso County Sheriff’s Office detectives said they interviewed and read the Miranda Rights to all four men, including Whitefield, a fact that the defense pointed out several times. The defense made the argument that Whitfield should be considered an accomplice. 

According to documents, Harrison believed Hernandez was stealing from him and drove him out to the area near Red Sands under the premise that the group was going to shoot rifles in the desert.

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