Family relieved at conviction and sentence

By Anthony Antoine |

Published 05/01 2014 10:51AM

Updated 05/01 2014 10:57AM

VERMILION COUNTY -- Her sister was murdered seven years ago; now the killer will serve the rest of his life in prison. Freddell Bryant shot Rodney Pepper. He was convicted in 2012. Jerome Harris shot Madisen Leverenz and Ta'breyon McCullough. He was just found guilty Tuesday. WCIA-3's Anthony Antoine spoke with Leverenz's family.

This was the conviction they'd been waiting for. It took two more years to get the second killer, but it's finally the last piece to this puzzle.

"My mom saw her earlier that day. The last words that she said to my mom was, 'I'll be back tomorrow, mom, we can talk then. I love you.'"

Madisen Leverenz never got to see tomorrow. She was shot and killed in this house in 2007. So were Rodney Pepper and Ta'breyon McCullough. It was all over drugs.

"The drugs that were taken, were a person that was high up in this gang."

That person is Fredell Bryant. But, Liyah Rogers wanted Jerome Harris put away. He's the one who shot her sister. Some of the evidence came from behind bars, straight to here.

"I don't know who to trust with the things I know, but I believe you and your family want to put an end to this mystery."

Rogers started getting letters from an inmate who knew Harris. He eventually testified against him. Another key witness also came forward. Rogers says that witness knew Harris and saw him running from the scene.

"It appears she was the last one shot, of the three. She begged for her life and she begged for her life because of her daughter."

The little girl who'll grow up without her mother.

"I see Maddie in Alayah everyday; in her eyes, in her laugh, in her facial expression, in the colors that she loves and her love for Lilly and everything. She's been able to grow up loving her mother, having never got to spend a lot of quality time with her."

Jerome Harris was already serving 25 years for drug conviction. Now he'll serve a mandatory life sentence.

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