Harris makes case for insanity defense

Sept. 19, 2011 at 4:19 a.m.
Updated Sept. 20, 2011 at 4:20 a.m.

Left to right: Billy Joe Harris, District Attorney Bobby Bell, Judge "Skipper" Koetter, Defense Lawyer Alan Cohen

Left to right: Billy Joe Harris, District Attorney Bobby Bell, Judge "Skipper" Koetter, Defense Lawyer Alan Cohen

EDNA - Billy Joe Harris testified for about five hours Monday, weaving tales of bestiality, aliens, transvestites and combat heroism.

Harris, the suspected Twilight Rapist, is on trial in Jackson County for sexual assault of a disabled person and has been linked to several other assaults and burglaries in Central and South Texas.

He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity because he suffers from multiple personality disorder.MORNING TESTIMONY

During morning testimony, Harris said he has four other personalities and it was one of them, David the dog, that had consensual sex with the woman here in January.

During questioning by defense attorney Alan Cohen, Harris said he was made to put on a dress and makeup at age 13 and take part in a threesome with his music teacher and a dog while her husband took photographs.

The bestiality continued after that as Harris claims he killed chickens while masturbating, had sex with a female Shetland pony and had two canine lovers - Fina, a doberman pincher and Lady, a rottweiler.

When Harris and his wife of more than 20 years divorced, he testified that he told her she couldn't have Fina.

"I loved her more than I loved my wife," he said. "I was having more sex with the dog than with my wife."

Harris later said he built an air-conditioned dog house for Lady.

Harris at times would lower his head as if sleeping for a moment, then suddenly raise it. He also twitched and shook during his time on the stand.

During his testimony, Harris also claimed extra-terrestrials removed one of his testicles because they wanted his sperm.

He also said many of the items found in his home by Texas Rangers that connect him to the break-ins were bought by the personality Bobby from a crack-addicted transvestite at a store near Crockett.

The 54-year-old Missouri City man also said the personality Thomas Simpson was learning to build bombs so he could blow up a building.

"I stopped him," Harris said. "He doesn't know how to make the bombs yet. When he does, I'll have to change my religion from Southern Baptist to Muslim, and I will be the leader of all leaders."

"Dr. Ross got him to come out," he said. "I didn't know about him."

Dr. Colin Ross is one of the expert witnesses Cohen plans to call to testify on Tuesday.

Harris also claims he ate his own feces before a visit from the state's psychiatrist on Sunday. Harris said he had been eating feces since 1976.

Harris, who worked in food service for the Texas Department of Corrections at the time of his arrest and worked in the same field in the military, said he killed thousands of Iraqi soldiers during Operation Desert Storm.

He also claimed to have thrown a grenade in a prisoner of war barbed wire compound while in Iraq.

"They were a waste of time," he said.

The proceedings were interrupted briefly during Harris' morning testimony when his attorney asked him to remove the ear plugs he was wearing.

Harris bolted upright from his seat, but was quickly restrained by the two deputies at his side.

Cohen had said last week that the earplugs were to keep Harris from hearing voices.

District Attorney Bobby Bell asked Judge Skipper Koetter to call a recess after the outburst by Harris.

"You knew that was going to happen," Bell chastised Cohen.

"I had no idea how the defendant was going to respond. End of story. I resent the comment made by the DA that it was planned," Cohen said.

Bell wasn't buying any of Harris' testimony.

During cross examination, Bell told Harris to admit to the jury that his actions and story were all an act.

"Just tell them you're making this up," Bell said.

The district attorney got Harris to admit that until his arrest, he had never told any family member or co-worker about the multiple personalities.

Under cross examination, Harris gave answers about his arrest that conflicted with the testimony given by Edna police officers who arrested him on Jan. 8. He claimed to have been shot by one of the officers.

Edna police officer Michael Yaws testified that he used a stun gun on Harris.

Bell also put Harris' military record into evidence showing he was in Saudi Arabia and never in Iraq.AFTERNOON TESTIMONY

After the lunch break, Bell asked to speak to "Bobby."

Harris lowered his head momentarily, raised it back up, rolled his neck and declared in a deep voice to be "Bobby."

Bell and Harris exchanged verbal spars with Harris at one time telling the district attorney, "You ain't worth a s***."

Cohen objected to the line of questioning and asked Koetter to have the district attorney calm down a little.

Several jurors stifled laughter during the give and take between Harris and Bell.

"It's inappropriate to look at the jury and laugh," Harris said. "Be professional."

"I'm not laughing," Bell said. "This is tragic."

Cohen objected to Bell's comment.

The two also wrangled over who was speaking when Harris was interviewed by Texas Rangers following his arrest. Harris claimed it was Bobby.

Harris turned to Koetter.

"He's trying to manipulate me. He's trying to make me say something that's not true," he said to the judge.

Koetter told him to answer the DA's questions.

Bell questioned Harris about the other rapes and break-ins he is connected with either by DNA or by recovery of stolen merchandise from his home.

In each instance, Harris denied any recollection of the crimes.

He did say that Bobby was dating one of the elderly women attacked in Yoakum.

Bell introduced records from the Veteran's Administration that said Harris showed no history of psychiatric disorder and is in good contact with reality.

Bell got Harris to admit that sometimes he can stop Bobby and David from doing bad things.

"When Bobby is doing all these things, you are right there together?" Bell asked.

"Yes sir. We are all in one," said Harris.

Testimony continues at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Jackson County Courthouse with Cohen expected to call two expert witnesses, a psychologist and a psychiatrist who examined Harris.



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