Convicted sex offender standing trial for rape, manslaughter of Cleveland teen

The suspect, who met the teenager on Instagram, is also accused of raping the victim.

Convicted sex offender standing trial for rape, manslaughter of Cleveland teen
Quinton Harris and Chanel (Source: Lake County Jail)

PAINESVILLE, OH (WOIO) - Quinton Harris is now standing trial in a Lake County courtroom.

Harris was indicted in connection with the December 2017 death of Tre’Von Howard, 19. Howard was found dead in a Mentor hotel.

Convicted sex offender standing trial for rape, manslaughter of Cleveland teen

Harris is charged with involuntary manslaughter, two counts of rape, sexual battery, and two counts related to providing alcohol to someone under the age of 21.

An autopsy revealed Howard had alcohol poisoning and suffocated after choking on his vomit in the early morning hours of Dec. 21, 2017.

Jury selection took most of the day, but in the afternoon, the jury heard opening statements and testimony from two witnesses.

Prosecutors say Harris took advantage of Tre'Von and engaged in sexual acts without his consent, since he was intoxicated.

In the defense's opening statement, Harris’s attorney said, "Whatever it was, and whatever you want to call it was consensual sexual activity."

The defense says Harris has chosen to live her life as a woman, though she is biologically a male. However, in the defense's statements, the attorney is not consistent, referring to Harris sometimes as "he/him" and sometimes as "she/her"

Testimony will resume Wednesday morning.

A Cleveland 19 investigation in 2018 led to the reopening of the case and Harris’ six count indictment.

The night before Howard died, the teen told his mother that he was going out with a woman named Chanel who he had recently met on Instagram.

Howard’s mother says her son didn’t know that Chanel’s legal name is Quinton Harris.

Harris is a convicted sex offender with a rap sheet full of felonies, including a 2010 case where Harris was charged with raping a 15-year-old boy at the Intercontinental Hotel in Cleveland. Police say the boy thought that he was going to the hotel to see a girl he had met on Facebook. Harris pleaded guilty to abduction and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

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