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Vegas Strip shooting defendant guilty in rape case

    Ammar Harris

LAS VEGAS >> A man who once bragged about his lifestyle as a pimp was found guilty today of rape and robbery in a case that served as a prelude to his upcoming capital murder trial in the deaths of three people in a February shooting and explosion on the Las Vegas Strip.

A jury of six women and six men deliberated less than two hours before finding 27-year-old Ammar Asim Faruq Harris guilty of four felonies in a June 2010 attack on an 18-year-old woman in the shower of a condominium off the Las Vegas Strip.

Harris gave no reaction as the verdict was read in Clark County District Court, or when prosecutor David Stanton informed the judge the convictions would serve as aggravating factors in Harris’ death penalty trial, scheduled to begin Dec. 2.

Harris was returned in tight custody to the Clark County jail to await sentencing Nov. 20 in the sex case. He could face 10 years to life in prison on each of the three sex assault convictions, and two to 15 years for robbery.

Harris didn’t testify during the four-day trial. His defense attorneys maintained the sex with the woman was consensual, and pointed to Harris’s statement to police that the woman and a friend chose him as their pimp.

The woman, a nude dancer at a club, went home to San Antonio, Texas, days after the attack and didn’t report it to police until much later.

Defense attorney David Schieck noted that the woman returned to Las Vegas within weeks and remained in social media contact with Harris, who used the name Jaida. Schieck told the jury that Harris wasn’t on trial for pimping or pandering charges.

Schieck didn’t immediately respond to messages after the verdict.

Stanton said he thought the jury believed the victim and other witnesses over Harris.

Charges in the case were initially dropped after the woman moved back to Texas. The case was resurrected after the Strip shooting and crash, when the woman returned to Las Vegas and testified before a grand jury.

Authorities allege the Las Vegas Strip shooting and fiery crash stemmed from a verbal altercation between Harris and a self-styled rapper, Kenneth Cherry Jr., at a casino valet stand.

Harris is accused of firing a handgun from a black Range Rover SUV into a Maserati driven by Cherry as the two vehicles sped along Las Vegas Boulevard.

Cherry, 27, was mortally wounded and the Maserati slammed into a taxi that burst into flames, killing the driver and a passenger.

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