Defense tries to chip away at brother's credibility, Part 2

Published 05/16 2013 05:03PM

Updated 05/23 2013 11:26AM

PEORIA COUNTY -- Defense attorneys are trying to show a key witness in a major murder trial has trouble with the truth. Jason Harris is testifying against his brother, Christopher, in a mass murder case. Christopher is accused of killing five members of a Beason family in 2009. As WCIA-3's Ashley Michels explains, Jason's changing stories could actually help his brother.

The theme of the day in court is lies. Jason Harris admits he's told police more than he can keep track of. The defense is trying to use that to its advantage.

Attorneys went through statements Jason gave police after his arrest. With each interview, he tells a new version of the story. The defense read parts of a transcript from a 14-hour interrogation, where police visited the same few details over and over.

In court, the defense asked Jason "if it would be fair to say, because they kept asking, they didn't believe his story." Jason answered, "yes." A later transcript shows he told police he lied because "he was just telling them what they wanted to hear."

The defense's key? After that 14-hour interview, police ask, "on a scale of 1 - 10, how much of your story is the truth?" Jason answers, "I swear to God what I've told you now, that we've come up with together, is 100% the truth."

In court, Jason said he became more focused on lying to cover his and his brother's tracks than he was about telling the truth. Jason accepted a plea deal in exchange for taking the stand.

The defense says it can't be sure he's telling the truth. He's been convicted of lying in court before.

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