NEW BOSTON, Texas: A woman who claims she was sexually assaulted last year at knifepoint by the father of her two children last September testified Wednesday before a Bowie County jury.
Brandon Lee Harrison, 31, is charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault with a deadly weapon. He faces five to 99 years or life in prison on both counts if found guilty.
The alleged victim testified under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp that she and Harrison’s relationship was having problems but that the final straw was when she found out he’d lost his job as a jailer for Bowie County and lied to her about it. The woman said that for weeks Harrison put on his uniform in the morning and pretended to go to work when he was actually unemployed and that the two stopped living together in May 2017.
The woman said Harrison, who is 6’6, had been threatening suicide in text messages to her and was often threatening when they would exchange custody of their children. The woman said she was with her new boyfriend for much of the day Sept. 15, 2017, and returned home at about 3 p.m.
The woman said she was waiting for her son’s school bus and picking out clothes to wear to the rodeo that night when she realized a door between her house and garage had been kicked in.
“I turned around and he was running at me with a knife,” the woman testified.
The woman said Harrison yelled at her about photos of her new boyfriend he’d found as he held the knife to her throat. The woman testified that Harrison forced her to get on all fours on her bed and sexually assaulted her after telling her he wanted to “make love” to her one more time.
The woman said Harrison did not notice that her cell phone was lying on the bed. The woman said she was able to text her boyfriend and later her mother, “911.”
The alleged victim said she yelled out, “You’re raping me,” as the assault occurred.
The woman said she was able to send texts to her boyfriend when Harrison was distracted. Some of the texts shown to the jury said, “he has a knife,” and “he’s raping me.”
The woman said that Harrison abruptly ended his assault and that she sent text messages while he used the bathroom. She said Harrison wanted to talk and that she told him she wouldn’t talk until he put the knife down. The woman said that after leaving the knife on a dresser, Harrison noticed her phone.
The woman said at one point she tried to run from the house and Harrison stopped her, pinned her against a wall and slapped her face.
“He said, ‘I’m not this person. Why did you make me do this,'” the woman testified.
The woman said Harrison placed a pair of scissors on the kitchen table and then threw them down a hallway after she refused to talk to him. The woman said Harrison pulled a pair of her underwear out of his pocket and placed them on the table after hearing the police knock at the door.
The woman said her boyfriend sent her a message asking for the code to open a side door to the house and she sent it to him. When New Boston police officers entered through the side door, the woman ran out the front where her boyfriend was waiting with her son and a family friend who had warned her that morning that he was concerned about Harrison.
Lance Johnson, a friend of Harrison’s and the alleged victim’s, testified that Harrison was “fixated” on getting back together with the alleged victim, under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards. Johnson said Harrison contacted him the morning of the assault to say he was walking the 20 miles from his apartment in Texarkana to New Boston.
Johnson said when he returned to his house at about 10 a.m. Sept. 15, 2017, Harrison was sitting in a chair on his back porch and appeared disheveled. Johnson testified that Harrison claimed his sister was coming to pick him up before Johnson left to return to work.
A Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab analyst testified that while two male DNA profiles were found on samples collected from the alleged victim, they could not conclude whether Harrison’s DNA was present or not.
“All I can say is there was more than one male profile present but there was not enough to say who,” DNA analyst Christy Link testified under cross examination by Public Defender Deborah Moore.
New Boston Police Department Investigator Brandon Harbison testified that he interviewed Harrison at the Bi-State Justice Center the night of his arrest. In a video of the interview, Harrison admits to kicking in the door to the house and claims he became angry when he found another man’s belongings in the woman’s bathroom.
During his cross examination of Harbison, Bowie County Public Defender Clayton Haas played another section of the video which shows Harrison denying that he ever raped the woman.
The jury was given instructions from 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart to return to court Thursday morning to hear additional testimony.