Mom Wrongly Convicted of Murdering Her Son, But the Truth About His Death Is No Less Heartbreaking

Horrifying 65

Nicole HarrisIf a mother's worst nightmare is the death of her child, I don't know what to call what Nicole Harris went through. The mom from Chicago was just released from prison after serving nearly eight years for a crime she didn't commit. Harris was sent away for murdering her 4-year-old son, Jaquari Dancy, in 2005, but the conviction has been overturned.

At the time, back in 2005, Harris confessed to cops that she was to blame for the boy's death. He'd been found with an elastic bedsheet cord around his neck in a bedroom in the family's home. What kind of mother confesses to such a thing?

A guilty one, right? Because no mother in her right mind would want the world to think she did something so heinous to the child she loved.

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I know I wouldn't.

But that's easy to say, isn't it? From the outside? As a person never charged with a heinous crime, a person who has never had to answer questions from police while struggling to make sense of tragedy?

I know what grief has done to me in the past. I've broken down, cried hysterically, wrapped myself in a comforter, and hidden away. And that was at the death of a grandmother, not a child.

So who is to say what a mother should or will do when she's grieving? What is normal?

Nicole Harris' murder conviction has been overturned because it turned out she spent 27 hours being interrogated before she confessed. What's more, it turns out her other son was never allowed to speak in court about what he observed: Jaquari putting that cord around his own neck.

So much for being in your right mind. I can't imagine what I'd do after 27 hours of being questioned by cops, especially when you factor in that this poor woman was already dealing with -- as I've mentioned -- a parent's worst nightmare. Her child, her beloved 4-year-old, had been found dead in her home.

What do you expect a mother to do with that? While we all grieve differently, it's certainly to be expected that this kind of traumatic news would render a mother unable to think clearly, would make difficult the process of answering even the most basic questions from police.

Cops have to do their jobs; I get that. But when you're grieving, you can't just tell your brain, "OK, now is the time to defend myself, deal with being heartbroken later." And so, unfortunately, we end up with cases like Nicole Harris.

Even more unfortunately, it can take years and years and countless appeals to undo the additional hurt of these cases. It's good news that Nicole Harris is out of prison today, but this whole mess is going to leave years of scars.

Put yourself in Harris' shoes. Can you see how she made a false confession?


Image via Chicago Police

accidents, child abuse, crime, death


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worki... workingmama86

I can see how the cops interrogating her could make her just confess! They will interrogate you making you feel like they won't give up until you give them an answer they wanna hear, whether you are guilty or not! 

nonmember avatar Samantha

I can see it. They try to convince you that you did it, and losing a child will put you out of your mind to begin with. They shouldve let the other child speak before, bc now it COULD be a made up story to get his mom out of trouble.

handy... handy0318

We're about the most law abiding family I can imagine, complete with 2 sheriff's deputies and one police officer in the mix... But, I always tell my hubby and kids that if for some reason the police need to have questions answered, tell them you will fully cooperate, but with a lawyer present at all times.  It is our constitutional right to have an attorney, always, and when an attorney is present such things as this tragic case.

So many times people think, "I have nothing to hide and I sure as heck would NEVER admit to committing a crime I didn't do, so there's no need for a lawyer."  But these kinds of things happen a lot more often than you would imagine and innocent people do get convicted because of it.

handy... handy0318

...and when an attorney is present such things as this tragic case can be avoided.


I wish there were edit buttons...

bills... billsfan1104

I agree with Handy. People say all the time that if you ask for an attorney you are guilty. I saw hell to the no, because it only protects you.

tuffy... tuffymama

Tragedy compounded for this poor woman and her surviving child. Yet another black mark against cops.

nonmember avatar kimberly

I have lost a young son years ago and although it wasn't my fault I took full blame and still question what I could of done different. This mother was exhausted, extremely traumatized with grief and by saying it was her fault, I believe she was pressured but I also believe she probably felt it was without remembering accidents happen.

looki... looking4mychild

Such a sad tragedy to have lost a child, and then accused of his death, and lost 8 years of life behind bars...I hope this family is able to heal and move forward from this, as difficult as it will be. I lose more and more faith in the justice system each day, murderers, rapists and pedophiles walking free every day, and innocent people put behind bars because the system needs a face to blame. I'm sure there are more rightfully accused than wrongly, but i feel like the many injustices in the justice system are growing.

Alawishas Inghels

Being a parent who has lost a child I can honestly say that no matter if the cops had grilled her for five minutes or five hours she would have eventually blamed herself. You can't help it. It has been over 12 years sense I lost my five year old to a house fire. And today I still blame myself. I can give you hundreds of ways I blame myself but they all boil down to "I didn't do my job as a parent and protect my child when I should have, even from themselves." Cops doing their job is nothing new but her attorney should have did his job.

Robyn Wheeler Pennay

Oh God. My heart goes out to Nicole Harris. Being a bereaved parent myself, I can't imagine trying to navigate such a situation. There are good and bad people in every group, and I sincerely hope this makes every police officer pause to think. Nicole, nothing can make up for what you've lost, but I hope you have your older son back.

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