|About Chiquita Tate|
|Death||February 20, 2009 Baton Rouge, Louisiana|
|Parents||Catherine Tate, Oliver Ruffin|
|Alumni||Southern University Law Center|
|BIRTH||October 15, 1975|
Lawyer Chiquita Tate was found stabbed to death in her office on February 20, 2009, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The investigation zeroed in on her husband, Greg Harris, and a jury convicted him of Tate’s brutal murder in 2011. Harris got a 40-year sentence, even though both him and his family continue to maintain his innocence.
Chiquita Patrece Tate was a lawyer who worked hard to get justice for her clients. Her office was inside the State National Life Building on the corner of Third and Florida Streets in Baton Rouge. She married Greg Harris in February 2008, a year before she was murdered.
Who Was Chiquita Tate?
Born on October 15, 1975, to Catherine Tate and Oliver Ruffin, Tate attended school in East Baton Rouge until the 11th grade, when she moved to Chicago, Illinois and finished high school. She had six siblings, and grew up believing in the value of education.
She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from Clark Atlanta University in Georgia, before moving back to Baton Rouge to pursue her J.D. from Southern University Law Center. Tate was officially sworn in as an attorney in October 2004, after which she began her solo practice, focusing on criminal law in January 2005.
Before going to law school, Tate worked as a teacher with the Timbuktu Academy art Southern University, and was a legal assistant to a judge. She later became a member of several the American Bar Association, Criminals Defense Lawyer’s Association, and the Baton Rouge Bar Association.
About six weeks before her wedding to Harris, Tate called 911 saying that her fiancé beat and choked her in their home. Still, they got married.
On February 20, 2009, Greg Harris called 911 and stopped a police officer on patrol, telling him that he went to Tate’s office because she did not come home the night before. When police acted on his plea, a horrifying incident came to light.
A Horrific Murder
34-year-old Chiquita Tate was found stabbed at least 43 times in her downtown Baton Rouge office. Police immediately suspected Harris was responsible.
Holes were found in Harris’ story, and there appeared to be damning evidence against him, including a pair of blood-spattered glasses found inside his car.
As police searched for evidence, they found disturbing details about Tate’s marriage. Harris, on his part, insisted that he was innocent. Despite his claims, he was charged with second-degree murder in 2011, and faced trial with the possibility of being sent to prison for the rest of his life.
Red Herrings Emerge
During the trial, authorities claimed that Harris used several tricks to escape suspicion for the fatal stabbing of his wife. These included placing strands of hair in the open palm of Tate’s left hand to make it appear that her killer was female.
Tate’s Gucci wallet was also dropped in the crime-ridden area of Gardere Lane, with what prosecutors believed was an attempt to make it seem as though ”an unsuspecting thief” would use her credit card, and would therefore be a suspect.
Harris maintained his innocence, saying that he was in the Gardere Lane area to buy steroids the night Tate was murdered. He claimed that his supplier wasn’t at home. District Judge Trudy White, under whom Tate worked as a student law clerk, presided over the trial.
Husband Convicted of Murder
An East Baton Rouge Parish jury deliberated over the case. By a vote of 11-1, they found Greg Harris guilty of manslaughter. Judge White gave Harris the maximum punishment of 40 years in prison. Harris’ father, Silver Harris, continued to stand by his son.
Family Still Believes Harris is Innocent
He later said, “They convicted the wrong person. We know that, and we intend to prove that. We haven’t given up. We don’t intend to give up.”
Four years later, Harris, who was incarcerated at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, claimed that another man killed Tate. The man, Denard Duheart, died in 2013. His brothers faced first-degree murder charges in 2007, and were represented by Chiquita Tate.