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Thread: Olympic Hopeful Gets Life
10-01-06, 04:24 AM #1
Olympic Hopeful Gets Life
Hurdler gets life in assault of woman
He'll have to serve at least seven years
By Dana Littlefield
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
September 30, 2006
An Olympic-class hurdler convicted of torture and other charges in the beating of a woman who prosecutors said refused his sexual advances was sentenced yesterday to a life prison term.
Micah Harris, 27, learned his fate during an emotional court hearing during which his family pleaded for leniency calling his crimes a one-time mistake and the victim's supporters pleaded for harsher punishment.
After hearing their comments, San Diego Superior Court Judge William Kennedy found that Harris' actions from the evening of March 8 to the next morning far exceeded an uncharacteristic lapse in judgment.
This was intentional, horrific conduct over a protracted period of time, the judge said, citing trial testimony that Harris struck the woman repeatedly and followed her into a Mission Valley apartment complex when she tried to escape the attack.
Harris, who was also convicted Aug. 1 of mayhem, assault with intent to commit rape and assault with intent to commit great bodily injury, will have to spend at least seven years in prison before he becomes eligible for a parole hearing, the judge said.
Deputy District Attorney Kristen Spieler argued during the trial that Harris met a then-21-year-old San Diego State student at a downtown bar the night of March 8.
Harris offered to drive the woman to her car, which was parked in Mission Valley, when she became separated from her friends.
Spieler said Harris became angry when the woman turned down Harris' sexual advances and he started hitting her in the face after they arrived at the apartment complex. He ordered the woman into the back seat of her Nissan Maxima, and tried to force himself on her before she managed to run to a nearby apartment on Rio San Diego Drive.
Defense attorney Keith Rutman said during the trial that his client admitted he hit the woman, fracturing her cheekbone, but never tried to rape her. Rutman argued yesterday that Harris had no previous criminal record and should be placed on probation.
The judge disagreed. He showed Harris a photo of the victim's battered and bloody face and played a 911 tape in which the woman can be heard screaming, He's gonna kill me! to those who came to assist her in the apartment complex.
The judge said the photo and tape showed that Harris' testimony that he hit the woman two or three times was inconsistent with the evidence.
Harris apologized to the victim, her family and his own.
I should have handled it better. It just went from bad to worse and I didn't know what to do, he said.
The victim's father asked the judge to send Harris to prison to prevent him from harming other women.
Harris' brother, Derric Johnson, told the judge his brother is a kind-hearted college graduate who lost his freedom, his reputation and his Olympic dreams because of a momentary lapse of judgment.Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.
Do not puff, shade, skew, tailor, firm up, stretch, massage,
or otherwise distort statements of fact.FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley
10-01-06, 09:23 PM #2
He will now have other "hurdles" to overcome while in prison. I am sure all the boys will just love to have a "piece" of that athlete.
I do not buy into the momentary lapse in judgement, it sounds like a very malicous attack on this young woman that not only left her physically traumatized, but mentally as well. The judge was correct in giving him life, what concerns me that after only seven years he will have the opportunity to get out on parole. Guess there is no "Truth in Sentencing" in sunny California. What happened to Life in Prison meaning Life in Prison aka you leave when you die?????
10-01-06, 10:16 PM #3You are a sniper when all other methods to save a life are failing...
You are a counter-sniper when someone else thinks they are as good as you with a rifle.
Nec hostium timete, nec amicum reusate - Audentes fortuna iuvat - Nemo me impune laedere
Saepius Exertus, Semper Fidelis, Frater Infinitas
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