Twilight Rapist convicted again, gets 99 years in prison

Sonny Long

April 18, 2012 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated April 18, 2012 at 11:19 p.m.

Convicted rapist Billy Joe Harris

Convicted rapist Billy Joe Harris

Billy Joe Harris has been convicted again of attacking an elderly woman.

Harris, known as the Twilight Rapist, was sentenced Friday to 99 years in prison by 278th Judicial District Judge Kenneth Keeling.

The punishment came after a two-week trial in Huntsville for an attack of an 80-year-old woman in Leon County in 2009.

He was convicted of burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit aggravated sexual assault.

The trial in which Harris, 55, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, was held before Keeling with no jury present at Harris' request.

Defense attorney Alan Cohen said he continues to believe Harris suffers from mental problems.

"In the second trial, an independent diagnosis supported schizophrenia and insanity," Cohen said. "I firmly believe that Billy is suffering from a major mental illness. It was no fake."

In September, Harris, a state prison employee from Missouri City, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for sexual assault of a disabled woman in Jackson County.

He also pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in that trial, claiming multiple personality disorder.

Harris is linked to several other attacks in Central and South Texas, including in Yoakum, according to reports from the Texas Department of Public Safety Serial Rapist Task Force.

DeWitt County District Attorney Michael Sheppard has said that he will put Harris on trial for the Yoakum attacks and expects to be "next in line" to prosecute him.



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