2 men iden­tify room­mate as at­tacker in 2015 stab­bing

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Ryan Au­tullo rautullo@states­man.com

By­ron Rober­son’s fam­ily and neigh­bors say he was kind man, a sin­gle fa­ther who opened two spare bed­rooms in his Pflugerville home to those who were down on their luck and needed a place to get their life in or­der.

One re­cip­i­ent of that benev­o­lence is ac­cused of killing Rober­son, stab­bing him 24 times with a knife and at­tack­ing other ten­ants at his End­less Shore Lane two-story home in Au­gust 2015.

Travis County prose­cu­tors haven’t estab­lished a mo­tive for the at­tack, which was ap­par­ently un­pro­voked, but they do have eye­wit­ness tes­ti­mony from two sur­viv­ing vic­tims, in­clud­ing Rober­son’s adult son, who iden­ti­fied Christo­pher Har­ris, 30, as the as­sailant from the wit­ness stand Tues­day.

“One hun­dred per­cent pos­i­tive,” Di­a­mond Rober­son, 22, tes­ti­fied.

His friend, Re­shard Rogers, stared long and an­grily at the de­fen­dant be­fore he took the stand. Rogers, 22, said Har­ris is un­doubt­edly the per­son who stabbed him four or five times. “Very sure,” he said.

But both of them are mis­taken, says Har­ris’ at­tor­ney, Chris Tol­bert, who noted in open­ing state­ments that his client also was in­jured that night.

“Just be­cause some­one has a be­lief does not make that be­lief true,” said Tol­bert, who sug­gested some­one else broke into the home and went on a stab­bing ram­page.

Ac­cord­ing to the ar­rest af­fi­davit, Har­ris sur­ren­dered to deputies hours after the stab­bings, emerg­ing from a hid­ing place cov­ered in blood and wear­ing only un­der­wear and socks. He had sev­eral cuts and in­juries to his hands, in­clud­ing a fin­ger that was nearly sev­ered, the af­fi­davit said. He never con­fessed to the stab­bings.

Wit­ness tes­ti­mony is ex­pected to con­tinue through Thurs­day be­fore the jury of eight women and five men be­gin de­lib­erat-

PHO­TOS BY RALPH BARRERA / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

De­fense at­tor­ney Chris Tol­bert makes his open­ing re­marks to the jury in the mur­der trial of Christo­pher Har­ris on Tues­day. Har­ris is ac­cused in the stab­bing death of By­ron Rober­son two years ago. Tol­bert sug­gested the at­tack was com­mit­ted by an in­truder.

Christo­pher Har­ris (left) rented a room from By­ron Rober­son. Two room­mates tes­ti­fied he wounded them with a knife be­fore fa­tally at­tack­ing his land­lord in Au­gust 2015

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