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September 2, 2014

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Suspect in Strip shooting sentenced in 2010 rape case

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Steve Marcus

Ammar Harris, the suspect in the Feb. 21 Las Vegas Strip shooting and car crash that killed three people, appears in court at the Regional Justice Center Wednesday, April 17, 2013.

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 | 10:15 a.m.

Ammar Harris in Court in October 2013

Ammar Harris, the suspect the Feb. 21 Las Vegas Strip shooting and car crash that killed three people, appears in court at the Regional Justice Center Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Ammar Harris, suspected of causing the deaths of three people in a predawn shooting last year on the Las Vegas Strip, was sentenced today to a minimum of 16 years and maximum of life in prison in an unrelated case.

In September, a jury found Harris guilty of sexual assault and robbery in a case first opened in 2010.

Clark County prosecutor Lisa Luzaich told Clark County District Court Judge Kathleen E. Delaney that Harris' violent history started with a conviction for possession of a stolen gun when he was 18 and living in South Carolina and continued from there.

“Nobody can say he is a productive member of society,” Luzaich said.

As Delaney imposed the sentence, Harris said nothing.

Harris' attorney, Robert Langford, said the defense planned to appeal the conviction, which was why his client declined to speak on his own behalf.

Langford added that Harris' history "is not as bad as (prosecutors) say."

Delaney sentenced Harris to a minimum of 10 years and maximum of life in prison on three sexual assault convictions, and six to 15 years for the robbery conviction. The robbery sentence will run consecutively to the sexual assault sentences.

Langford and Thomas Ericsson were appointed to represent Harrison Oct. 30 after Harris reported conflicts with his court-appointed attorney, delaying the sentencing in the case. David Schieck, a special public defender, had represented Harris in the sexual assault case.

After the hearing, Luzaich said Harris “earned every minute of his sentence." The county prosecutor added that the conviction would go toward proving a history of violence in the Strip shooting trial, in which Harris faces the death penalty if convicted.

Harris declined to be interviewed by court officials prior to the hearing for a sentencing recommendation, citing his plans to appeal.

Harris, 27, is in custody and awaiting trial on three capital-murder charges stemming from the Feb. 21, 2013, shooting and crash on Las Vegas Boulevard. After Harris was taken into custody, a woman who earlier accused Harris of robbery and sexual assault resurfaced, and prosecutors reopened the case, which resulted in the conviction.

Harris’ trial in the Strip shooting case is scheduled for September.

According to Metro Police reports and court records, the Strip incident began when Harris got into an argument in the valet area of the Aria with another man, Kenneth Cherry Jr.

After the two drove off in separate vehicles, Harris is accused of shooting at Cherry’s car as the two drove north on Las Vegas Boulevard. Cherry was shot and subsequently lost control of his car and slammed into a cab, causing it to explode, authorities said.

Cherry died, as did cab driver Michael Boldon, 62, and cab passenger Sandra Sutton-Wasmund, 48, a businesswoman from Maple Valley, Wash.

Freddy Walters, a passenger in Cherry’s car, was shot but survived.

Harris remains in the Clark County Detention Center without bond.

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