Harris Gets Prison Time For Assault

Juan Harris will spend one-to-three years in prison for assaulting a woman at knifepoint in Wheeling in March

Circuit Judge James Mazzone sentenced Harris, 31, of Cleveland Friday after Harris entered an Alford plea to a charge of attempted malicious assault, a lesser charge than the attempted murder offense alleged in a May grand jury indictment. An Alford plea is one in which the defendant maintains his innocence but acknowledges the state has adequate evidence to result in a conviction.

Mazzone’s sentence aligned with a joint recommendation by Assistant Ohio County Prosecutor Shawn Turak and defense attorney Scott Brown.

Turak said that at 9:20 a.m. on March 25, multiple police units arrived at 3 Locust Ave., where they found Harris holding a female victim against a wall on the porch while holding two knives against her.

A police report states Harris immediately threw the knives into the side yard and officers ordered him off the porch. They had to forcibly take Harris into custody as he refused to comply with the officers’ orders.

The report said Harris admitted he had been smoking PCP and that he had been arguing with the female.

The investigation revealed Harris attacked the victim because he thought she had stolen some of his possessions and money.

When offered a chance to address the court, Harris disagreed with Turak’s description of what had happened on that day. He said he did not attempt to stab the woman but he grabbed a knife to protect himself from a pit bull dog owned by the woman.