LIMA — Even though an offer from prosecutors had been on the table for more than a month, a Lima man facing the potential of more than 50 years behind bars initially balked on Friday at the deal that capped his maximum prison time at 16 years.
David Harris, 52, of Lima, argued first with his court-appointed attorney and the told Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Terri Kohlrieser he “didn’t realize when I came in here today that I would have to make a life-changing decision in five seconds.”
Assistant Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Thines told the judge that a formal offer had been extended to Harris in early April in which the state would dismiss two counts of rape and one count of robbery in exchange for guilty pleas to first-degree felony charges of rape and kidnapping. By stipulation the state agreed to a 16-year prison sentence.
The charges were in connection with an incident on New Year’s Day during which, according to court documents, Harris hired a woman to have sex with him and then refused to pay her, holding the woman against her will and forcing himself upon her sexually.
The plea offer was set to expire Friday and Defense Attorney Zach Maisch confirmed to Kohlrieser that the offer had been explained to Harris in detail.
“He has known since March that today was the deadline for that offer,” Maisch said.
In the end, Harris pleaded guilty to the rape and kidnapping counts and will be sentenced June 30. He will be labeled a Tier 3 sex offender and as such will be required to register with local authorities every 90 days for life.
According to court documents, on Jan. 1 a female from the Toledo area who was advertising for sex for hire on the internet agreed to meet Harris at a residence in the 200 block of North McDonel Street in Lima to engage in sex for a fee of $500.
When the woman arrived Harris refused to give her any money and attempted to have sex with her. The female refused and Harris threatened to assault the woman and, after the woman picked up her phone and began to make a call, he slapped her and threatened to get a gun and shoot her.
Afraid she would be killed, the woman got on the bed and allowed Harris to engage in sexual acts with her, court records show. Neighbors heard the assault taking place, called and knocked on the door of the home. The victim was able to flee at that point and called police.
Harris allegedly admitted to police he held the woman against her will and had sex with her.