Defendant told Rangers he was dating victim

Sept. 14, 2011 at 4:14 a.m.

EDNA - Billy Joe Harris claimed he was dating the victim he is accused of sexually assaulting.

In an interview on Jan. 8 by Texas Rangers Troy Wilson and Jimmy Schroeder, Harris said he had been dating the victim for about a year and had come to Edna to end the relationship because he was now married.

During questioning, he called the victim Williams, which is not her name, and also did not know her first name.

Harris, 54, of Missouri City, said the woman got upset when he told her he had to break off the relationship, and that's why she cried rape.

"It was a fling, and I'm guilty of that," he said. "There was no rape, period."

The victim, a 59-year-old disabled woman, testified Tuesday that she did not know Harris.

Harris, who officials suspect is the Twilight Rapist, is allegedly connected to a series of sexual assaults and burglaries in South and Central Texas. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the Jackson County case.

His attorney, Alan Cohen, of Houston, told jurors Tuesday that two doctors will testify that Harris suffers from multiple personality disorder and that one of those personalities - David the dog - committed the crime.

During the interview with the Rangers that lasted about an hour, Harris also said, "I'd be crazy to do something that stupid."

Harris also said he told the victim while they were dating that his name was Billy Davis and that she called him David.

At one point during the interview, Harris sobbed briefly when talking about his wife, Darlene Harris.

"I love her a lot. I don't want to lose her," he said.

During the morning session Wednesday, a sexual assault nursing examiner who treated Harris testified that he was covered in scratches the same day the assault took place.

Leslie Kallus, a registered nurse who is also a certified sexual assault nurse examiner and forensic nurse at Citizens Medical Center, said her scrutinization of Harris revealed "numerous acute lacerations" on his shoulder, chest, rib cage and back.

The victim testified Tuesday that she scratched her attacker trying to get DNA under her fingernails.

Another sexual assault nurse examiner, Jennifer Mumphord, of DeTar Health System, examined the victim the same day and testified she found evidence consistent with the victim's story that she had been sexually assaulted.

Also testifying Wednesday morning was Darlene Harris, the defendant's wife.

She said the two met through an online dating service in April 2010 and married less than two months later.

Darlene Harris said that on the night of Jan. 7, her husband left in his Texas Department of Criminal Justice uniform, telling her he had to work an extra shift at the Terrell Unit in Rosharon.

The uniform was later found in Harris' car parked near the victim's apartment.

"Did you know he was coming to Edna?" asked District Attorney Bobby Bell.

"I had no clue," she said.

Darlene Harris, who has a 9-year-old son, said it was her custom to call her husband when she arrived at work. On Jan. 8, she got no answer.

"I kept calling and kept calling and calling," she said.

Cohen asked Darlene Harris, "Was Billy a normal, hard-working man, loving to you and to your son?"

"Yes," she answered.

"Did you feel Billy was a role model for your son?" Cohen asked.

"Yes," Darlene Harris said. "He built a structured environment for him. My son looked up to him."

Other morning testimony included the paramedic who responded to the victim's apartment the morning of the attack and members of the Texas Rangers who testified about property stolen from the victim's apartment in December found in the Harris home in Missouri City.

The woman had reported a burglary at her apartment in December.

The trial is in recess until Monday because of the scheduling of the expert witnesses.

Bell said he would call at least one more witness before resting. Cohen is expected to begin his case after that.

Judge Skipper Koetter is presiding over the trial.



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