April 29, 2021 – A jury has found 36-year-old Justin Eastman guilty of taking the life of 53-year-old Donna Harris.
Harris’ body was found November 24, 2019 in a remote, rural area off Sherman Road. The official cause of death – blunt force trauma to the head.
“Donna Harris was left face down, her body lying on top of a sheet and bed skirt, bludgeoned to death, and alone in a field,” said Delaware County Prosecutor Melissa Schiffel. “No person should have to suffer that fate, and no family should ever have to experience the devastating loss of a loved one in such a traumatic way.”
Harris was reported missing on November 21, 2019 when she could not be reached by phone and had failed to arrive to accompany her granddaughter on a school field trip. Her body was found four days later.
During the seven-day trial, jurors learned that Justin Eastman was the last known person to see Donna alive. The two were in a relationship, and video and cell phone records put them together just prior to her death, and in the area where Donna’s body was found.
Eastman, of Columbus, was picked up by law enforcement in Kansas on November 25, 2019. He’d been using Donna’s credit cards during his attempt to flee the state, purchasing things along the way like tools, clothing, and a gaming system. Donna’s cell phone also revealed activity after her death, showing a monetary transaction from her personal account to an acquaintance of Eastman.
In total, jurors heard from 24 witnesses and were presented with more than 200 legal exhibits, including a selfie taken after Donna’s death which showed Justin Eastman holding a wad of cash he’d stolen from Donna.
A sentencing hearing for Justin Eastman is set for Friday, May 7 at 2 p.m.