Man convicted in Goochland teacher beating

Posted at 1:17 PM, Oct 31, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-31 19:34:44-04

GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- The man convicted of beating his ex-girlfriend in the parking lot of the school where she worked said he is glad the trial is over.

The jury deliberated for about 10 minutes before finding Uriah Harris guilty of malicious bodily injury for attacking his ex-girlfriend outside Goochland Middle School on Dec. 12. An assault and battery charge against Harris was dropped.

It took jurors about 30 minutes to sentence Harris to 16 years in prison.

“I’m just glad it’s over. I’m glad the victim is still alive. Everybody’s happy," Harris told CBS 6 News' Catie Beck as he walked out of the courthouse in handcuffs. "And it's not over. It's not over."

Harris said he did not think the 16-year sentence was fair, but understood the risk going in.

"But I signed up for a jury trial -- and that’s what happened. But it’s not over," Harris said.

Harris, acted as his own attorney in front of a jury of eight women and four men, said in his opening statement that he loved the woman and that all of his words were being contorted.

In court Thursday morning, prosecutors said the beating was recorded on video and it not only showed Harris attacking the woman, but also showed other teachers coming to the teacher's aid.

School security cameras, which captured a portion of the attack, also showed two teachers witness the attack and try to intervene.

The pair testified that when they tried to intervene, Harris dragged the victim by the leg while smashing her head on the pavement.

Additionally, Harris' ex-girlfriend took the witness stand early Thursday afternoon. She talked about the emotional and physical scars she suffered during the attack. She told jurors she had taken steps to get out of the abusive relationship.

The victim's friends supported her in court and said she has been incredibly strong during the ordeal.

“It can happen to anybody," said one woman. "Survivors of this type of thing are very strong. [They're] much stronger than people give them credit for.”

Harris' formal sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 7