An Arapahoe County jury found Johnny Dewayne Harris, Jr., 49, guilty of all charges related to a sexual assault of a Littleton woman in 2018.
On the morning of July 25, 2018, the victim took her dog for a walk on the trail located west of the intersection at South Santa Fe Drive and Brewery Lane in Littleton. The defendant attacked her by wrapping a parachute cord around her neck and dragged her about 20 feet into an area off the trail.
During the assault, the victim fought back and knocked the defendant’s glasses off his face, severely impairing his ability to see. The defendant told her at one point, “I need to find my glasses to get out of here, because I need to make a break for it. If I don’t have my glasses, I can’t.”
To prevent her escape while he searched for his glasses, he used the rope around her neck to also tie her by the ankles and wrists behind her back. As he continued his search, the victim regained her balance while hog-tied, untied her feet and escaped. Her dog was found shortly after.
Several cyclists stopped to help the victim once she ran onto the trail. Littleton Police apprehended the defendant 15-20 minutes after the assault, as some of the cyclists either took care of the victim or followed the defendant until his arrest. The victim sustained serious bodily injuries.
When Littleton Police interrogated the defendant, he said that he is near-sighted and could read and understand everything. He later confessed in a taped interview and written statement.
At the time of the attack, the defendant was wanted by the City and County of Denver for sexual assault and failure to register as a sex offender. The defendant said he was in the Littleton area because he knew he was wanted in Denver.
The jury received the case late in the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 18 after a three-day jury trial.
The jury found the defendant guilty of the following charges:
• One count of First Degree Kidnapping (F2)
• One count of Attempted Sexual Assault – Deadly Weapon (F3)
• One count of Attempted Sexual Assault – Serious Bodily Injury (F3)
• One count of Attempted Sexual Assault – Use of Force/Violence (F3)
• One count of First Degree Assault – Strangulation (F3)
• One count of Unlawful Sexual Contact (F3)
• Two sentence enhancements for violent crime
District Attorney George Brauchler said, “Harris is the embodiment of the nightmarish rapist who jumps from the bushes to grab and sexually assault the innocent and unsuspecting. I am impressed and grateful for the Colorado courage displayed by the victim both at the hands of her would-be rapist and in front of a jury of strangers. Let the word go forth from this courtroom that we will not tolerate rapists in our community. For those who seek to weaken our laws regarding sex offenders, let this be a reminder of what is at stake. Monsters like Harris are yet another reason we build prisons.”
The victim stated the following: “It’s hard to describe the emotions going through my mind as this has been the hardest week of my life since the attack.
I can’t thank everyone who has been with me throughout the process enough. I am so proud and grateful to my legal team for the way they presented my case as well as treating me with the utmost respect and patience for the last 14 months.
I’d also like to thank every single person who testified, I know from experience just how difficult that must have been. It is never easy to relive probably one of the most awful experiences of their lives.
Last but not least, to my army of support, who stood behind me the entire way, my husband, my brother, my mom, and my entire friendship base from around the entire world was with me this week! I am a survivor, and through the help of all of you I am able to be here to thank you all today.”
Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Gallo and Senior District Attorney Danielle Jaramillo prosecuted this case.
The sentencing hearing is set for Dec. 20 at 1:30 PM in the Arapahoe County District Court, Division 407. The defendant faces a sentencing range of 16 – 128 years to life in the Department of Corrections.
The Honorable Judge Michael James Spear presides over this case.