He Was Vacationing With His Girlfriend's Family. They Had No Idea He'd Killed Her Father a Day Before the Trip

Zachary Hackman, 24, has been sentenced to 19 years in prison after pleading guilty in the 2022 killing of 54-year-old James Orlando Harris

<p>Portland Police Bureau; Multnomah County Sheriff

Portland Police Bureau; Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

James Harris (left) and Zachary Hackman

An Oregon man will spend 19 years behind bars for fatally striking and strangling his girlfriend’s father a day before going on vacation with her family in 2022.

James Orlando Harris, 54, was found slain in October 2022 in Portland, Ore. by Portland police officers responding to a report of “suspicious circumstances,” the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office said in a statement on Tuesday.

Police arrested Zachary Hackman, later identified as the boyfriend of Harris’ daughter, in connection with the killing later that month.

On May 13, following a plea agreement, an Oregon judge sentenced Hackman, now 24, to 19 years in prison: 17 years for first-degree manslaughter and two years for abuse of a corpse, according to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office statement.

He was initially charged with second degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and abuse of a corpse, according to the Portland Police Bureau. 

<p>Portland Police Bureau</p> James Harris

Portland Police Bureau

James Harris

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On Oct. 9, 2022, Harris was found by police in a sleeping bag that had been dumped in heavy brush, and autopsy reports showed he died after suffering a hammer blow to the head and being strangled with a dog leash, according to The Oregonian.

The autopsy report further stated he had been killed on Oct. 4, per the outlet.

According to an affidavit cited by The Oregonian, Hackman was caught on surveillance footage covering Harris’ kitchen window with a towel on the day of the killing.

The video also captured Hackman's girlfriend helping him carry a heavy container into the girlfriend's car, per the affidavit.

She later told authorities she was unaware of the body inside the container she helped move, per the affidavit, and was under the impression that she was helping Hackman clean trash, the outlet reported.

A day after killing Harris, Hackman was on vacation with members of his girlfriend's family while her father lay deceased, The Oregonian reported.

The girlfriend told police that Hackman only informed her after the fact that she had helped him move her father's body, Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Demer said in the affidavit.

The girlfriend told authorities that she was fearful of Hackman. She has not been charged in connection with the killing.

Police have not discussed Hackman's motive.

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