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Cops and Courts

Woman charged with attempted murder enters insanity plea

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ELYRIA — A Cleveland woman indicted on attempted murder charges for allegedly running over a man with her car has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Lisa Harris, 29, was indicted on one count of attempted murder, two counts of felonious assault and a count of vehicular assault in January, stemming from a November incident in which Ohio Highway Patrol troopers said she ran over 21-year-old Rhett Tousel, who was riding a bicycle, with her 2002 Ford Taurus.

In a motion filed on behalf of Harris, her attorney, Patrick Hakos Jr., requested the court order an evaluation for competency. The motion said Harris has made Hakos aware “of a history of mental illnesses and issues in the past and at the time of the alleged incident.”

Judge Chris Cook has not yet made a ruling on the motion.

Tousel had been riding a blue 18-speed Ultra Terrain bicycle near Eaton Estates in Eaton Township.

Residents who lived nearby heard a loud sound and went out to investigate, finding Tousel trapped underneath the Taurus. When paramedics arrived, they had to lift the vehicle off Tousel, according to a search warrant filed in Lorain County Common Pleas Court last month.

Harris told troopers that she was trying to find her way out of Eaton Estates development by calling a friend when she struck Tousel with the car. She also admitted driving on the left side of the road and acknowledged hitting Tousel’s bike with her vehicle, according to the warrant.

Witnesses at the scene, however, said they heard Harris say she had been robbed by Tousel just prior to the incident and was upset. After an investigation, troopers believe Harris and Tousel knew each other, the warrant said.

Troopers have said they believe drugs had played a part in the incident.

Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will has said the incident was recorded on a home surveillance video, and it is believed to have been an intentional act, which is why Harris has been indicted on attempted murder charges.

Harris is next scheduled to appear in court June 8.

Contact Scott Mahoney at 440-329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.


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