After serving 31 years behind bars, former cocaine kingpin Michael “Harry O” Harris will finally be released and expects to further repay his debt to society once he’s out.
Michael “Harry O” Harris is set to continue his path to redemption outside of the prison walls with news reports confirming his impending release.
Harris was convicted in 1988 for attempted murder and kidnapping charges. While in prison, he collaborated with Suge Knight to create Death Row Records in 1991, the label that launched the careers of Dr Dre, Tupac Shakur, and Snoop Dogg. Harris’ initial investment was reported at $1.5 million. Through the years, he managed to grow the company to a multi-million-dollar rap music empire while serving time at San Quentin State Prison.
However, despite his company’s lucrative business, Harris never received a cent of the income prompting him and his now ex-wife, Lydia to sue Knight. They won the case in 2005 and were awarded $107 million. This resulted in Death Row Records’ bankruptcy.
Knight is currently serving a 28-year prison sentence for voluntary manslaughter.
Suge Knight at then-CEO of Death Row Records attending the 2007 BET Awards after party in Hollywood. | Source: Getty Images
Before his incarceration, Harris headed a drug empire in the 80s then eventually moved on to running legitimate businesses including a theater company that gave Denzel Washington his first big break. He also owned a limousine service, an exotic car dealership, a construction company, and a hair salon while investing in real estate.
“I am a man who has experienced incredible highs and incredible lows. I am a man who came to prison a boy and who will emerge as a grown man.”
By mid-August, Harris will have a second chance at rebuilding his life. The 57-year old will be transferred to a halfway house in a location close enough to his daughter, Mykel who lives in San Antonio, Texas.
Harris told Daily Mail that he has “grown and matured” while serving time in prison. In fact, he intends to repay his debt to society by taking part in philanthropic work once he gets out.
“Over 30 years ago I was part of the problem,” he said. “However, over the years I have repeatedly proven myself to be part of the solution. It's about returning to society with my new found vision, talents and insights. Giving back to the communities where my help is so desperately needed.”
Harris plans to align himself with Texas philanthropic company, 2nd Chance which provides second chances to individuals who have lost their way. The company’s founder, Paul Nuttal is the brother of one of Harris’ co-inmates in prison.
Nuttall initially had reservations about taking in Harris to his fold due to his criminal past but realized after meeting him that he was truly a reformed man.
“I am a man who has experienced incredible highs and incredible lows. I am a man who came to prison a boy and who will emerge as a grown man,” Harris told Daily Mail. He also assured the publication that he will ”work tiredly to help change lives” from the moment he sets foot in the outside world.
While Harris is on the verge of enjoying his freedom, his former business partner, Knight is currently serving a 28-year prison sentence for voluntary manslaughter. He killed a man and severely injured another when he crashed his truck in 2015.
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