by Anita Woo
What started out as an argument between Harris Lamorris Francis and “Mr. S,” turned into a felony of dissuading a witness when Mr. Francis slapped the witness “L.”
In June 2018, L was in her room when a loud argument broke out in the living room. When she went to investigate, she found her granddaughter sitting between Mr. Francis and her son-in-law, Mr. S, while the two men were arguing. L became very concerned for the safety of her granddaughter and asked the two men stop arguing. Mr. S demanded that Mr. Francis leave at once; Mr. Francis refused. The argument escalated into Mr. S exiting the room to get his shoes so he could wrestle with Mr. Francis.
After her son-in-law had left the room, L picked up the phone to call the police. Seeing L put the phone near her ears, Mr. Francis smacked the phone out of her hand. L claimed his slap was so forceful that her phone went flying onto a chair, and the slap bruised half of her face so that her ear and face turned red.
Mr. Francis and Mr. S then resumed arguing outside. L didn’t witness the argument outside because she stayed in her room. However, she was aware, when Mr. S returned home and locked the door, that Mr. Francis continued knocking loudly on her apartment door. L looked outside her window and grew concerned the noise would disturb the neighbors. She called the police.
In cross-examination, the defense attorney asked if L knew what the argument was about prior to her going into the living room. L restated she had no idea, and was only concerned about the potential threat to her grandchild upon seeing her in the middle of their argument.
The defense then turned to questioning whether L had seen any of the fight outside between Mr. S and Mr. Francis. Emphasizing that Mr. S was around 6’4 and 250 lbs, the defense attorney asked if L saw Mr. Francis bleeding from the mouth. L admitted she didn’t see the whole fight, but did see Mr. S pinning the defendant on the ground. She also claimed there were spots of blood on the grass, and stressed that “it wasn’t puddles.”
Lastly, the defense asked if L was aware of whether Mr. Francis left his phone in her apartment when Mr. S locked him out. L’s unit has an open laundry and Mr. Francis would often go to her home to do laundry.
Harris Francis may have gotten into an argument that resulted in his forgetting his phone in L’s apartment, as well as taking the action toward L. He then knocked on L’s door persistently to retrieve his personal property, and was arrested.