Inmate accused of beating jail officer gets 3 life sentences for 2020 murder, prosecutors say

Courtney Fischer Image
Tuesday, July 25, 2023
Man agrees to 3 life sentences for 2020 murder, prosecutors say
Christian Dillard, the inmate accused of beating a Harris County Jail officer, was given three life sentences for Matthew Harris' 2020 murder.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The inmate who is charged for allegedly beating a Harris County correction officer over the weekend is now convicted of a 2020 deadly shooting, according to prosecutors.

Christian Dillard, 23, agreed to three life sentences for killing Matthew Harris in 2020 in exchange for not going through with his capital murder trial. Prosecutors say Dillard is eligible for parole after 30 years.

On Tuesday, Dillard was escorted by armed officers in tactical gear to the courtroom, where he faced a judge and Harris' family.

"I do want to apologize. There is not a day I don't go without thinking about what I did. And that's why I'm accepting this punishment," Dillard said.

Dillard's attorneys entered a plea negotiation of 60 years, which was agreed upon and was initially going to be followed through at Tuesday's hearing.

But on July 21, Dillard allegedly brutally beat a Harris County Jail detention officer, according to the sheriff's office.

The officer has been released from the hospital but told ABC13 that he suffered a broken nose, has stitches in his mouth, and is swollen.

Joshua Raygor, the Harris County assistant district attorney, said Dillard's recent actions have led prosecutors to believe he hasn't changed, and they withdrew his plea after Dillard faced new charges.

"I don't know the sincerity (of Dillard's apology)," Raygor said. "I can tell by his subsequent actions since that crime that change hasn't been made on his end. I'll leave it up to the evidence."

Raygor said Dillard has had "several incidents" with jail officers and inmates during his time at the detention center, to the point where he was placed in solitary confinement.

During his hour-long yard time, Raygor said Dillard shoved the detention officer down the stairs and knocked him unconscious by punching him repeatedly in the head.

"Matthew wasn't taken from us because of a miscommunication or fight. He was taken from us because of greed and cruelty," Harris' mother said in court during her victim impact statement.

On April 9, 2020, Harris was shot to death at a gas station at 647 Greens Road at about 12:05 a.m.

Police say Dillard can be seen on surveillance video shooting Harris before stealing his belongings, including his shoes, and then driving away in Harris' black Cadillac sedan.

For news updates, follow Courtney Fischer on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

RELATED: Harris County Jail inspection report shows troubling staffing shortage impacting inmates and staff