Man returned from UK to face 1999 Jacksonville murder charge

Phillip Harkins faces Duval County judge after 11-year extradition battle

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The family of Joshua Hayes was in court Friday to see the man accused of killing him in 1999 stand before a Duval County judge for the first time.

Phillip Harkins, 38, was extradited to Jacksonville from Scotland this week to face charges of first-degree murder, armed robbery and several counts of failure to appear.

Judge John Moran ordered Harkins held without bond and set his next court date for August 2. Harkins didn’t say a word as the judge spoke.

Hayes' grandmother was in tears after the hearing, but she and other family members said they were advised by their attorney not to give any statements to the media.

Hayes (pictured below) was shot and killed on a Mayport boat ramp during a drug deal. Harkins was arrested at the time, but released on bond. By the time the grand jury indicted Harkins for first-degree murder, he had fled to Scotland.

Joshua Hayes

Authorities in Scotland found Harkins and arrested him after he was involved in a fatal car crash in 2003 that killed a 62-year-old woman. Following his sentencing, authorities in the U.S. began seeking his extradition.

Harkins appealed the extradition twice before the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that if he were to be convicted in Florida, he could face the death penalty or life in prison without parole. 

Earlier this month, the court denied Harkins’ latest appeal of extradition.

"Josh was my oldest. So, yeah, it's hard," Hayes' mother, Patricia Gallagher, told News4Jax earlier this month. "Josh has got grandchildren now but he'll never know. He's got a son that never got a chance to know him. So it's hard."

Gallagher said the pain of losing her son has not eased, but she refuses to lose hope that justice will be served.

"I think God will take us to where it needs to be, and I leave it in his hands," Gallagher said. "He's brought us this far, and I will fight this to my last breath. I will never give up."

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