Accused ‘Bayshore rapist’ continues emotional break down
TAMPA –The alleged ‘Bayshore rapist’ cried to jurors when he took the stand in a Tampa courtroom Wednesday.
In an anything but ordinary trial, Luis Harris, 31, who first acted as his own attorney last week decided to testify on his own behalf. Closing statements will start Thursday and then the jury will head into deliberation.
His defense attorney Chuck Treina questioned him.
Treina: “Did you say you were any kind of police officer?”
Harris: “No, I didn’t.
And that’s when Harris broke down into tears.
Treina: “Did you show a badge to [the victim]?”
Harris: “No, I didn’t. I used her credit cards without her authorization and that’s it. I didn’t rape her, I didn’t force her to do sex, I didn’t take her anywhere against her will and I didn’t impersonate no officer.”
Harris was caught on tape using the victim’s credit cards at both the bank and the Hard Rock Casino. He claimed he made an error in judgment when using them, but insists the sex was consensual.
According to Harris, he met the alleged victim after he stopped to render aid while she was already pulled over on Bayshore Boulevard.
Prosecutor Jennifer Johnson cross-exmained Harris and pointed out inconsistencies in his story.
Johnson: “So you lied to law enforcement when they were interviewing you?”
Harris: “Yeah, because I was scared because female detectives were trying to get me to confess to a rape.”
Johnson: “Yes or no, Mr. Harris? Judge, I ask you to order him to respond.”
Judge Chet Tharpe: “Just answer the question, Mr. Harris — yes or no.”
The testimony and videos took most of the day and the judge decided to recess until 10 a.m. on Thursday.
Harris is facing numerous charges from sexual battery and kidnapping to fraudulent use of credit cards.
If found guilty, he could face life in prison.