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story.lead_photo.caption Brandon Harrison

A man convicted last year of sexually assaulting the mother of his children at knifepoint was denied a new trial in an opinion issued Wednesday by a Texas appellate court in Texarkana.

Brandon Lee Harrison, 32, was found guilty by a Bowie County jury in August 2018 of two counts of aggravated sexual assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

The victim testified that Harrison was unhappy that their relationship was over and that his behavior led her to seek a court order preventing him from contacting her. After returning home one afternoon, the woman was attacked by Harrison as he held a knife. In addition to testimony from the victim, the jury heard from other women who had been sexually harassed by Harrison and one woman who testified that she was sexually assaulted by Harrison when he worked as a sergeant at the Barry Telford Unit of Texas Department of Criminal Justice in 2012.

On appeal, Harrison argued that the jury should not have heard testimony from other women with personal accounts of Harrison's sexual aggression and misconduct, claiming it prejudiced the jury against him. But the 6th District Court of Appeals disagreed.

At trial, Harrison's defense lawyer theorized that the victim was hoping to gain something of financial value by claiming that Harrison sexually assaulted her. The claim that the victim made up the story opened the door for the state to rebut the theory with testimony from other women, the higher court's opinion states.

"The Bowie County District Attorney's Office is extremely pleased with the outcome of this case and, now that Harrison's appellate process is over, he will remain in custody of TDCJ — an appropriate place for this violent sexual offender," First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said.

Because Harrison was determined to have used a deadly weapon, he must serve at least half of his 40-year term before he is eligible for parole under Texas law. According to Texas Department of Criminal Justice website, Harrison's parole eligibility date is Sept. 15, 2037. He will have completely served his time on Sept. 15, 2057.

Upon release from prison, Harrison must register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life. He is currently being held at the Daniel Unit in Snyder, Texas.

 

llarowe@texarkanagazette.com

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