TAMPA — Across the state from the courtroom where the chaotic trial of now-convicted rapist Luis Munuzuri-Harris played out, a woman yelled at her television screen.
"He's a con artist! It's a game!" Harris' ex-girlfriend Kimberly McGraw remembers saying.
McGraw, 29, said she's relieved that a Tampa jury convicted Harris. He faces the possibility of life in prison for posing as a cop to rob and rape a woman along Bayshore Boulevard in July.
McGraw doesn't have personal knowledge of Harris' role in the incident. But she says after being beaten by him during their five-year relationship, she has no doubt he was capable of the crime.
"He can't hurt us anymore," she said. "He can't hurt any female."
On Friday, McGraw said she thinks Harris' outbursts and his decision to represent himself at the beginning of the trial are in character.
Each time she'd call police because of the beatings, he'd start crying, she said.
"He could turn it on and off, like a water hose," she said.
And even though he withdrew from the Lake Tech Institute of Public Safety in 1998, he would tell people he was a police officer, she said.
"First he pretended to be a cop," she said. "Then he pretended to be a lawyer. He's a true con artist."
McGraw met Harris when she was 15, and they dated for five years. She hasn't seen him since he went to court in Volusia County in 2005 on a 1999 rape charge, of which he was acquitted. The trial was delayed because he fled to Mexico shortly after the rape allegations and wasn't apprehended until 2004.
She has two sons with Harris, she said. They're now 11 and 13 — old enough to understand their father's crimes.
She tried to shelter them from much of the trial, but even on Florida's east coast, TV stations carried snippets of the trial.
"They're very angry," she said. "They say that they hate him. They don't call him their dad."
She said her 13-year-old son asked her, "What if I turn out like that?"
"You won't," she said she answered. "You're a better person. You know what he did is wrong."
Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.