Man convicted as juvenile for murder in court again facing new charges

A man convicted of a notorious Dallas murder as a juvenile was in court Wednesday facing prison time as an alleged repeat offender.

Royneco Harris was just 13 when he robbed Octavuis Lanier of his iPod before pushing him in front of a moving train at the DART station on Martin Luther King Boulevard in 2011. He and his co-conspirator in the murder, Courtney Woods, served juvenile sentences before being arrested again for aggravated robberies shortly after their release.

Harris was in court Wednesday to answer to those charges -- and his ex-girlfriend may have provided the most powerful testimony against him. Kristian Rios, 19, told jurors that she was driving the car on Aug. 2, 2016 when Harris and two others allegedly robbed a couple at gunpoint on a Deep Ellum street. She said that Harris and another suspect had guns in the car the night the young couple was robbed.

Prosecutors told jurors that all the suspects worked together in the robbery. Defense attorneys countered by saying Rios made a deal with prosecutors and told lies to avoid prison herself.

“On August 7 she’s put in jail with $100,000 bond and she’s offered life in prison,” Harris’ attorney Messina Madison said. “She meets with the DA, [and] she’s now willing to testify against her boyfriend. She says she’ll testify, and three days later she gets out with a pinky swear that she’ll come back.”

The prosecutor says those claims are unfounded.

“She knew this was unwelcomed, what they were going to do was no good,” Prosecutor Renee Harris said. “She told you that. And that’s why she ultimately has pled guilty to the charges. She knows she did wrong. That’s how she knows he did wrong. They did wrong together.”

Rios pled guilty to aggravated robbery in April and was placed on probation for eight years.

One of the victims of the robbery says that having a gun pushed to his chest was the scariest moment of his life. He says that his girlfriend sprayed all three suspects with mace, sending them away screaming.

Prosecutors showed video of all four suspects in a nearby 7-Eleven grabbing milk to ease the pain of the mace minutes later.

Woods has already been found guilty of the robbery. If Harris is found guilty too he will face five years to life in prison.

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