3 Charged With Obstruction in Beason

Thursday, Oct 8, 2009  |  Updated 8:14 AM CDT
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Five Murdered in Beason

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Three people, including the brother of the chief suspect, were arrested for obstruction of justice Wednesday as officials investigate the slayings of five people in a tiny central Illinois farming town.

Logan County Sheriff Steven Nichols would not say how the three allegedly obstructed justice.

Last week, Christopher Harris, 30, was charged with five counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Authorities claim he killed his former father-in-law, Raymond "Rick" Gee, Gee's wife Ruth and three of their children.

The five were found dead Sept. 21, the victims of blunt force trauma in what officials described as a violent struggle, in their home in Beason, about 35 miles northeast of Springfield. A 3-year-old, Tabitha Gee, survived the attack and has been hospitalized since. Nichols said Wednesday she is in fair condition.

Harris' 22-year-old brother, Jason L. Harris of Armington, was among the three arrested Wednesday. The other two were Jason Harris' girlfriend, Jennifer C. Earnest, 24, and her mother, Sara A. Duncan, 43, of Sarasota, Fla.

Nichols said Harris and Earnest were arrested in Lincoln. Duncan was arrested in Florida.

Asked if he expects more arrests in the case, Nichols said, "Other charges may be pending."

In an interview last week with The Associated Press, Jason Harris said he was "100 percent" certain his brother didn't kill the Gee family. He described his brother as gentle, said he was home most of the night the family may have been killed, and said his brother showed no injuries or blood splatters.

In a separate interview, Jennifer Earnest told AP that she had sold Christopher Harris a primer-gray pickup truck. Police announced after the killings that they were searching for a primer-gray truck that had been spotted near the crime scene.

Christopher Harris was divorced from Raymond Gee's daughter, Nicole. He has two children with her, and the two had recently reconciled.

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