A Texas woman testified Thursday that Ammar Harris raped her in his shower in June 2010, nearly three years before the self-proclaimed pimp would face murder charges in connection with a Strip shooting that resulted in three deaths.
“I was scared. I didn’t expect that to happen,” the 22-year-old woman said as she cried softly on the witness stand. “I didn’t know what to do.”
Special Public Defender David Schieck said the defense theory in the sexual assault case is simple: The sex was consensual.
Harris, 27, is set to stand trial Dec. 2 in the fatal shooting of reputed pimp Kenneth “Kenny” Clutch Cherry Jr. The two were driving separate vehicles on the Strip early in the morning of Feb. 21 when Cherry was shot, causing him to crash his car into a taxi.
The cab then burst into flames, killing the driver, Michael Boldon, and his passenger, Sandra Sutton-Wasmund of Maple Valley, Wash.
Prosecutors plan to seek a death sentence if Harris is convicted in the murder case, and a sexual assault conviction could help them persuade a jury to choose that punishment.
Harris was indicted in April on three counts of sexual assault and one count of robbery in connection with the June 2010 incidents.
Jury selection for the sexual assault trial began Monday, and prosecutors called the victim as their first witness.
The Review-Journal generally does not publish the names of sexual assault victims without their permission.
During her testimony Thursday, the victim said she was 18 when she and her friend Ashley, who had met Harris online, went to stay with him and another woman at their two-bedroom apartment in Las Vegas.
District Judge Kathleen Delaney issued an order this week that prohibits the use of Ashley’s last name during the trial. Ashley is expected to testify for the prosecution on Friday.
The victim pointed to Harris, dressed in a suit and tie, on Thursday and identified him as the man she initially knew only as “Jaiduh.”
She said Harris picked the two women up on June 1, 2010, and took them to his apartment. That night, all three slept together in Harris’ bed.
The witness said she had no sexual interest in Harris. “I didn’t like him like that,” she explained.
She said they all socialized the next day at the complex pool before returning to the apartment.
The woman said she was entering the shower when Harris opened the bathroom door. She recalled asking him, “What are you doing?”
She said Harris joined her in the shower, where he began hugging and kissing her, and she told him, “I don’t want to do anything.”
The woman said Harris forced her to perform oral sex on him before raping her.
“I’m just trying to get through it,” she told the jury. “I’m not putting up a fight.”
When asked why she did not yell for Ashley, who was in the other room, the witness replied, “She’s there because she likes him, and I’m just the tag-along because I had no place else to go.”
The woman said she told Harris repeatedly during the incident, “You shouldn’t do this.”
Afterward, she was too embarrassed to tell her friend what had happened, she said. The next day, the victim returned to Texas, leaving all of her belongings at the apartment.
When she came back to Las Vegas a couple of weeks later, she asked Harris to pick her up at the airport. That night he drove her to Little Darlings, an all-nude strip club where she worked as a dancer. He also picked her up when her shift ended the next morning.
The woman said she went back to the apartment and spent the day sleeping in Harris’ bed. When she woke up, she testified, he showed her a box and told her to put her money in it.
“I was just confused,” she said.
The witness said Harris then took her wallet out of her purse, and they began arguing. When she tried to get her wallet back, he began choking her, she said.
She said Harris stole $600 from her wallet and threatened to harm her family if she reported it. She called police the next day.
“You will find that the only time the allegations against Mr. Harris come up is when there is an argument about money,” Schieck told the jury during his opening statement.
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at email@example.com or 702-384-8710.