Harris Convicted in Beason Slayings
By The Associated Press
Sentencing will be July 19 for a man convicted of killing five members of his ex-wife's family with a tire iron in a small Logan County town.
Jurors convicted Christopher Harris of five counts of first-degree murder on Friday in Peoria after about five hours of deliberations.
The 34-year-old Harris put his head in his hands as the verdicts were read.
Family members of the victims were in court and were calm and quiet.
Harris admitted to killing 14-year-old Dillen Constant. But Harris said he did so only after the teenager bashed his family to death at their home in Beason in 2009.
Harris was also accused in the deaths of Dillen's mother, Ruth Gee; his stepfather, Rick Gee; his 16-year-old sister, Justina Constant; and 11-year-old stepbrother Austin Gee.
Logan County State's Attorney Jonathan Wright said Friday that Harris' conviction was vindication in particular for d Dillen Constant.
Harris admitted to killing the boy. But Harris said he did so only after the teenager beat his family to death at their home in Beason in 2009.
Defense attorney Dan Fultz said it was difficult to convince jurors to acquit Harris in part because of testimony from a pathologist that the boy was hit repeatedly while he was immobile.
But Fultz said Harris will appeal the verdict.