FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy with a few showers or an isolated thunderstorm. High: 77. Winds: South 10-15 mph.
FRIDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy with a few showers or a thunderstorm. Low: 69. Winds: South 5-10 mph.
Christopher Harris Sentenced to Life
UPDATED July 19, 6:00 p.m.
Never the same again. A convicted killer is spending the rest of his natural life behind bars. Christopher Harris was sentenced today to five consecutive life sentences, plus 80 years.
Five witness statements were read in court today, all of them asking that Harris spend the rest of his life behind bars, or worse.
They included a statement from Harris' own child that called him a liar, and one from the crime's youngest victim. Tabitha Gee was 3 years old at the time of that 2009 murder, and narrowly escaped.
The child, now 7, wrote, "I wish you were dead and my mommy and daddy and brothers and sister were alive."
After sentencing him to life, the judge said Harris could appeal within 30 days.
"He can appeal all he wants," Terri Miller-Reagan, the sister of victim Dillen Constant, said. "It doesn't matter. I'll go to every single appeal that he has in Springfield. I'm not worried about it, but to continue to deny is a serious cop-out. He's not--yeah, he's not even a man."
Miller-Reagan was one of the five giving victim impact statements in court today. She said Harris' conviction and sentencing are vindication for her brother.
Harris had argued that he walked in on Dillen Constant killing his own family, and killed the teen in self-defense.
The jury didn't buy it. Harris, though, is still declaring his innocence--even yelling it as he was taken away from court today.
The judge gave Harris one life sentence for each of the people he killed, plus 80 years for home invasion, armed robbery, and the attempted first-degree murder of Tabitha Gee.
UPDATED July 19, 3:15 p.m.
Christopher Harris has been sentenced to five consecutive life terms for murdering five members of a Beason family in 2009.
The judge said Harris will spend the rest of his natural life in prison, "but there will not be closure" for those who loved and knew the victims.
Harris was convicted of 38 counts, including 33 counts of first-degree murder, in May of this year in a Peoria County court.