TAMPA – The woman allegedly raped by a man posing as a police officer spent the morning on the stand in a Hillsborough County courtroom.
Defendant Luis Munuzuri-Harris, despite a judge’s recommendation, is acting as his own attorney.
His alleged victim recounted to prosecutors the events of last July 29 as she drove home along Bayshore Boulevard during testimony Tuesday morning.
“It was just a blue flickering light, flickering through my window,” the woman said.
She told the jury that Harris pulled her car over near Howard Avenue, and told her he was an undercover narcotics detective.
She said he later used her bank card to withdraw money from two Tampa ATMs and then handcuffed and raped her in his car at Patriot’s Park.
“He tells me I can’t tell anybody,” she said during direct examination, “I can’t tell anybody and he asks me over and over again, ‘Are you going to tell anybody?’ You’re not going to tell anybody?”
Harris wore a suit and tie and spent the morning consulting with standby attorneys from the public defender’s office.
“I’m not a monster, just a regular person just like everybody here,” Harris said during opening statements, “I’m accused of some pretty harsh allegations.”
Harris faces charges of kidnapping, sexual battery, falsely impersonating a police officer, and fraudulent use of a credit card.
He later cross-examined the alleged victim.
Judge Chet Tharpe grew irritated several times with Harris’ apparent lack of knowledge regarding the practice of law and courtroom behavior.
The judge asked Harris several times if he wanted to accept a public defender. Harris answered “no” every time.
Towards the end of Tuesday’s testimony, when the victim’s uncle took the stand, the judge warned Harris of badgering the witness.
“Do not do it again, Mr. Harris. Do we understand each other?” Judge Tharpe yelled.
“Yes, judge. That’s why I was trying to find a better way to ask the question,” Harris answered.
“You better find a better way because the next time you do it will have even more severe consequences than being admonished in front of this jury. Again I ask you, Do you understand me?”
“Yes Judge,” Harris replied.
“Ask your next question, if you have one.”
“No further questions,” Harris said.
Judge Tharpe asked prosecutors to name their list of witnesses for Wednesday so Harris might be better prepared for his next day in court.