Harris guilty, Part 2

Published 05/31 2013 04:28PM

Updated 06/02 2013 09:12PM

PEORIA COUNTY -- Christopher Harris will now spend the rest of his life behind bars. The jury says he's guilty of killing Rick and Ruth Gee and three of their children in Beason in 2009. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels has more from court.

It took jurors just over five hours to reach their verdicts. One juror says, even though they finished pretty quickly, it was one of the hardest things he's ever had to do.

"I couldn't look up. I didn't want to. I didn't want to look at his face because I still feel terrible. I just sent a man to prison for life."

Seth Jones is one of twelve jurors who convicted Christopher Harris for the mass murder of a Beason family. The state presented its case showing how Harris broke into his ex-in-law's home, beat the family to death with a tire iron then lied to try to cover it up.

"It was really messed up. It was brutal, and just very, very graphic."

Harris claimed he went to the home and found the family's 14-year old son, Dillen, killing the family. So, Harris said he had to kill the teen in self-defense. It was a story which was too unbelievable for the jury.

"Chris' story, just, I wanted to believe it. Honestly, I did. It just didn't make sense and there were too many holes."

Jones says, for the most part, the jury had its mind made up from the beginning of deliberations which is how they were able to return a verdict so quickly.

"Everybody was leaning that way. There was a couple of us that were trying to say, 'not guilty,' but the evidence was just way too much."

Harris now faces a mandatory life sentence. He covered his face as the judge read his fate.

The Gee family says they're glad to have some closure and justice for their loved ones. Everyone who's been a part of it says it's something which will change their lives forever.

"I value life much more now."

Harris will come back to court this summer for sentencing. He faces mandatory life. His lawyers say there could be an appeal, but they won't be the ones handling it.

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