Mount Vernon man to stand trial for 7-year-old double murder

(11/16/03) YONKERS - A brutal double murder took place in Westchester seven years ago. Now, a Mount Vernon man is about to stand trial for the bloody crime. Prosecutors say it has been two years since Selwyn Days confessed to killing an elderly Eastchester man and his health-care aide. Opening statements in the trial are set to begin on Monday.

The victims in the case are 79-year-old Archie Harris, known to many as an eccentric millionaire, and his home health-care aide Betty Ramcharan. Both were found beaten and strangled in Harris' Eastchester home.

Selwyn Days proclaimed his innocence to News12 Westchester two years ago, but police say they videotaped a confession from him in February of 2001. Court papers revealed Days' description of the incident to detectives. According to his account, Days' mother was a former aide to Harris. Days allegedly told detectives that Harris sexually abused his mother and that he went to Harris' home to confront him. According to Days, Harris struck first with a baseball bat, but Days prevailed in the struggle.

There is currently no word on whether this story will be used by the defense or whether it was part of the videotaped confession that Days' defense attorney wanted thrown out. The first-degree murder charges can carry a sentence of life in prison without parole. District Attorney Jeanine Pirro decided against pursuing the death penalty. Days' defense attorney believes the DA made the right decision because there was not enough evidence to warrant such a punishment. Days' attorney at the time said there was no physical evidence linking the defendant to the crime.

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