Closing arguments attempt to convince jury, Part 1

Published 05/30 2013 05:05PM

Updated 05/30 2013 05:30PM

PEORIA COUNTY -- One of the area's biggest murder cases in years is nearing its end. Christopher Harris is charged with beating five members of a Beason family to death in 2009.

Both sides gave closing arguments Thursday. Now the case is in the jury's hands. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels has followed the case from the beginning.

This was the last chance each side had to convince jurors. After nearly four years of preparation and a month in court, lawyers on both sides boiled every bit of evidence down to try to either put a killer behind bars or set an innocent man free.

The state got its chance first, tying together all the evidence we've seen so far into a story they say points straight to Harris and proves his intent was to kill them all. They used physical evidence, blood spatter, fingerprints and injuries on the victims to back up the story told by Harris' brother, Jason.

Jason says he saw Christopher take a tire iron into the home and kill the family. Prosecutors argue Jason couldn't know anything about what happened inside the home unless Christopher told him. Prosecutors say that, plus the face Christopher lied over and over to cover his tracks proves he's guilty.

The other half of their argument was to break down Harris' self-defense claim. They called it "absurd and laughable" to blame the crime on 14-year old Dillen. In the state's version of things, he's the hero who tried to save his family.

Meanwhile, the defense says the evidence can be interpreted two ways and isn't enough to prove anything.

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