Sex offender gets life without parole for Tulsa rape
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Friday, February 08, 2013
A previously convicted sex offender received a no-parole life prison sentence Friday upon being found guilty of raping a woman who said he picked her up when she was walking along a Tulsa road.
A Tulsa County jury found Michael Ray Harris guilty of the first-degree rape of the woman on Nov. 1, 2011.
The victim, now age 28, identified Harris as the man who gave her a ride and took her to a field where he sexually assaulted her.
In a closing argument, Assistant District Attorney Ben Fu said there was “a mountain of overwhelming evidence pointing directly at him.”
Defense attorney Bliss Lowe said the key issue was a matter of identification and that there was no DNA evidence to implicate Harris.
In the sentencing stage of the trial, Fu and co-prosecutor Kali Strain introduced evidence that Harris, 47, has a 1993 conviction in Texas for sexual assault and a 1984 conviction in Colorado for aggravated robbery.
District Judge James Caputo instructed jurors that if they determined that Harris did have two prior felony convictions, the punishment range for the rape was 20 years to life without the possibility of parole.
In addition to getting a no-parole life prison sentence, Harris was fined $10,000.
Harris still faces trial on Tulsa County charges of raping three other people in separate episodes. The accusers are two women who were 17 at the time of their alleged rapes and a woman who is in her 50s.
The charges involving those three accusers were not at issue at this week’s trial, but they testified as prosecution witnesses.
Harris did not testify. He has been in the Tulsa Jail since Jan. 27, 2012.