DENVER – A registered sex offender suspected in at least three sex assaults in the metro area was sentenced last Friday to 25 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to assaulting a woman near the S. Platte River and to attempting to assault a woman at a Denver bookstore.
Johnny Dewayne Harris, 49, pleaded guilty in May to one count of first-degree assault and two counts of attempted sexual assault in the two Denver cases.
The Denver incidents happened a day apart in March 2018. In the first incident, Harris offered to give a woman a ride, then pulled into a parking lot near the river and while holding her at knifepoint, demanded she undress.
After she tried to escape, according to an affidavit for Harris’ arrest, Harris sexually assaulted the woman. After the assault, Harris pulled into a convenience store, where the woman ran inside and had the clerk call police. But police obtained surveillance images of Harris, who was later identified as the suspect.
But he was not identified before committing another assault the next day at a bookstore on South Broadway.
Harris walked into the store and assaulted a worker at knifepoint, telling her he would kill her if she didn’t stop screaming or resisting. But the woman grabbed the knife, kicked Harris and threw a stool at him, forcing him to flee.
But Harris left his name on a piece of paper at the bookstore and surveillance video, which eventually led police to arrest him months later.
He previously had to register as a sex offender after he was convicted in 1999 of assaulting a 15-year-old girl in Texas. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and registered as a sex offender in 2014 upon his release.
Colorado court records show that he was charged with several sex crimes in January 2016 in Denver as well, though many of the charges were dropped when he pleaded guilty to indecent exposure. But he failed to register as a sex offender and pleaded guilty in December 2016 for failing to do so. He received an 18-month jail sentence.
Harris also faces charges of sexual assault, kidnapping and assault for an alleged attack that happened in July 2018 in Arapahoe County.
He is accused of grabbing a woman off the Mary Carter Greenway in Littleton, tying her up and sexually assaulting her before the woman was able to escape.
Court records indicate he is scheduled to go trial in that case later this month.