Convicted Rapist Cross-Examines His Own Vicitim
INSIDE EDITION talks to a convicted rapist who tried to defend himself in court by cross examining the victim himself.
Imagine having the man who raped you grill you in open court. Luis Harris acted as his own lawyer and went face to face with his victim as she relived her ordeal.
Harris states, "Your testimony here today is you were raped."
Victim says, "I was raped by you, My pants were removed first."
Harris asks, "Who removed them?"
Victim replies, "You!"
The grueling cross examination went on for 2 hours and through it all the brave victim never wavered.
Victim says, "You forced sex upon me."
After ten hours of deliberations, the jury found Luis Harris guilty on all counts including kidnapping and sexual battery. He now faces a sentence of up to life in prison.
INSIDE EDITION's Paul Boyd spoke exclusively to Harris in a Tampa, Florida jail. He wore shackles and chains and two sheriff's deputies hovered over him. Boyd asked him point blank why he would take the extraordinary step of acting as his own lawyer.
Boyd says, "It looked like you were trying to grandstand, like you were trying to intimidate the victim in this case."
"Because the allegations that she made are not true," responds Harris.
The court drama began when Harris demanded to act as his own lawyer, and the judge ruled he had the constitutional right to do so.
WTSP-TV reporter Laura Kadechka says, "The victim, whose identity we are withholding, at first seemed nervous."
The victim asked the judge, "Do I have to make eye contact with him?"
The judge said, "No, you can look away."
Kadechka said, "But when the time came she looked straight at him."
The defendant tried to undercut her testimony, but she didn't back down.
Harris questions, "Your suspect was 6' 2", heavy and fat?"
"You are heavy and fat," replies the victim.
Prosecutors say Harris impersonated an undercover cop when he pulled the woman's car over on this stretch of Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa last July. He drove her to a deserted park and sexually assaulted her in the backseat. Later that night he was caught on surveillance video using her credit card to withdraw cash at a casino.
Harris asks, "What made you pull over?
Victim answers, "You flagged me down."
She identified him again and again as her attacker.
Boyd says, "Come on Luis, you're not a lawyer. Did you really think you could represent yourself in this case?"
Harris says, "I was an innocent man trying to save my life from prison. And I had to do what I had to do."
Judge Chet Tharpe repeatedly warned Harris that he was skating on thin ice and badgering the victim.
During closing arguments, Harris lost his temper, and the judge finally had enough and ordered court officers to forcibly removed him from the courtroom.
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