Details Emerge in Beason Slayings

By Andrew Greiner
|  Thursday, Oct 29, 2009  |  Updated 8:30 AM CDT
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Details Emerge in Beason Slayings

AP

Friends and supporters show their emotion while attending a memorial service in Beason, Ill., Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009, where five members of a family were found slain in their home and a search is still under way for a suspect. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Prosecutors allege that the two men charged with killing the the Gee family in downstate Beason intended to rape one of the family members.

It's the first hint of motive in the brutal slaying that rocked the rural town, and the first time the public has been allowed to hear about the murder weapon. 

Prosecuters say the  Chrs Harris, 30, and Jason Harris, 22, entered the home armed with a tire iron, intending to sexually assault 16-year-old Justina Constant, Ruth Gee's daughter from a previous relationship.

The brothers also planned to rob the family and took an Acer Aspire laptop computer, the documents say.

The Harris brothers pleaded not guilty to numerous charges against them --- 68 counts against Christopher Harris and 71 against his brother -- which include first-degree murder, attempted murder, variations of those charges and attempted sexual assault. Jason Harris also is charged with obstructing justice by burning his brother's clothes, hiding a stolen computer and lying to police.

The pair are accused of killing Raymond "Rick" Gee, his wife, Ruth, and three of their children last month. The Gee's 3-year-old daughter also was severely injured.

Christopher Harris had been married to one of Raymond Gee's daughters, Nicole. She was not at the Gee home at the time of the deaths and has not been accused of any wrongdoing. Nicole Gee attended Wednesday's hearing but has not spoken to reporters about the case.

Bloomington defense attorney Steve Skelton, who is representing Jason Harris, said after the court hearing that the case involves the most charges he's ever seen in a single criminal case.

Christopher Harris' attorney Tim Timoney did not immediately return a message left for comment.

During the hearing, Logan County Judge Thomas Harris, who is not related to the defendants, said the potential sentences range from 20 to 60 years in prison on some counts to life in prison or even the death penalty, if the state seeks it.

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