Alleged sexual predator in custody

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Three days after investigators say he attempted to rape an 88 year old woman, Morris Harris, 41, is in police custody.

After local media outlets including WSFA 12 News aired a picture of Harris taken from a surveillance camera, authorities received an anonymous tip with his location.

The tipster told investigators that Harris was on Saint James Street in Montgomery.

Wednesday morning, police made their move.

"The officers went to that location and found the vehicle and the suspect," explained Major Huey Thornton of the Montgomery Police Department.

It's not the first time Harris dealt with the law.

He served time in prison for an attempted rape a few years back and fought several other rape and sexual abuse charges.

The conviction meant Harris had to register as a sex offender, but police say that never happened.

"It's my understanding that he didn't have his sex offender card with him, and hadn't registered," Thornton explained.

After Harris' arrest, authorities booked him at the Montgomery County Detention Facility.  Because of his criminal history, they asked for the District Attorney's help to keep him behind bars.

"We went with [the police department] to a District Court judge to seek a bond amount higher than normal," explained Montgomery County District Attorney Ellen Brooks.

Prosecutors helped secure a $500,000 bond against Harris.

Though Brooks wouldn't comment on the case specifically, she says repeated courtroom encounters with the same suspects never get any easier.

"It almost feels like you're spinning your wheels because--number one--you haven't made a difference in their behavior, and--number two--the punishment that was [figured] out before obviously didn't work," she explained.

$500,000 bond is considered excessive, because an attempted rape charge will usually only land a suspect with $5,000 to $30,000 bond.

Prosecutors say the judge in this case considered Harris a flight risk and that contributed to the decision to keep him locked up.

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