Defense tries to chip away at brother's credibility, Part 1

Published 05/16 2013 05:03PM

Updated 05/23 2013 11:25AM

 PEORIA COUNTY -- The state's star witness in the murder trial against Christopher Harris faced tough questions in court Thursday. His brother, Jason Harris, was back on the stand. The defense was trying to show jurors why they shouldn't trust him. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels has more.

In court Wednesday, Jason Harris gave his version of what happened the night five members of a Beason family were beaten to death. Thursday, the defense is showing jurors the other stories he told police since that night in hopes of picking apart his credibility lie-by-lie.

Jason says he was there when his brother killed the family, but the difference is in the details. Sometimes he said they went to Beason for a joy ride, then it was because Rick Gee owed Chris cocaine.

He's also said Chris was going to break in and rob the family. For the past three years, it was that Chris wanted to rape Justina, the family's 16-year old daughter. Now, he says Chris just wanted to talk to her.

But transcripts show Jason told police over and over, "What I told you right now is 100% the truth," even though he now admits he changed his story all the time. Those aren't the only lies the defense is calling him on.

He also changed his story about the tire iron, where he was when Chris was in the Gee home and what he saw. During testimony, Jason admitted he couldn't remember what he'd told police saying, "I was more focused on the lies than telling the truth." Jason says he lied because he was scared of his brother.

Jason Harris was given a 20-year plea deal for testifying against his brother. With good behavior and time served, Jason could be released from prison in six years.

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