Accused Rapist Cross-Examines Alleged Victim During Trial

PHOTO: Rape Suspect Cross Examines Alleged Victim
Share
Copy

Emotions ran high in a Tampa, Fla., courtroom as Luis Munuzuri-Harris, an accused rapist acting as his own defense attorney, cross-examined the woman he's accused of raping.

"I was raped by you. You forced sex upon me," the woman told Harris during the Tuesday court hearing.

For more than two hours, Harris questioned the woman about the night of the alleged crime and asked her personal questions such as whether she wore underwear.

Harris, 31, faces felony charges including sexual battery, aggravated assault and forced kidnapping. If convicted, he faces life in prison, according to court records.

The charges stem from a July 2010 night when prosecutors allege Harris drove along Bayshore Blvd. in Tampa impersonating an underground narcotics officer. He allegedly pulled over the woman now accusing him of rape.

"It was just a blue flickering light, flickering through my window," the woman told the courtroom.

When Harris asked her, "When this person walks up to your car ... do you get out of your car?" she corrected him, "When you walk up to my vehicle."

The woman claims Harris then used her ATM cards to withdraw money at a bank before raping her.

During her testimony, she detailed the alleged rape.

"I was pushed up against the window and you were having sex with me from behind me," she said.

In his black robe, with his arms crossed in front of him, Judge Chet Tharpe's face became increasingly red throughout the cross-examination, until finally Tharpe had his own outburst.

"I will not allow you to stand at the podium and read the deposition, page by page, until you can figure out what your next question is," Tharpe said.

Harris cross-examined the witness at a painstakingly slow pace, taking two to three minutes between questions.

"What is happening, Mr. Harris, is that you are creating an undue hardship on this victim by asking her the same questions over and over," Tharpe said. "It's almost to the point of badgering this witness."

At his opening statement earlier in the week, Harris said that he's "not a monster."

Alleged Rape Victim Cross-Examined By Alleged Rapist

Tharpe, almost pleading with Harris, asked him repeatedly if he wanted the help of a public defender.

There were standby public defenders on hand to take over Harris' case, but he refused the help.

However, when Harris arrived to court Wednesday, he asked for a public defender to be assigned to him. But he already had questioned his alleged victim.

Tharpe said it was clear that Harris had no idea about the appropriate etiquette and behavior of a lawyer.

"You clearly don't know the difference between sustained and overruled," Tharpe said.

Waving and pointing his finger, Tharpe told Harris that he could be held in contempt of the court.

Harris defended himself and his line of questioning to the judge.

"For the record, I'm making a good-faith effort to defend myself the best that I can," Harris said. "Maybe I should have prepared better for the questions. I understand that now, but I'm making a good-faith effort, judge."

Harris has a prior criminal record that includes convictions for grand theft, the Tampa Tribune reported. He also faces charges that two days after the alleged rape, he falsely impersonated an officer and beat a man while outside of a bar.

ABC Affiliate WFTS contributed to this report.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...