Amid tight security, Christopher J. Harris
was charged with five counts of first-degree
murder as well as another count of attempted
Present in the courtroom were
media and law enforcement officials, with no
members of either family present.
Cell phones, tape recorders, BlackBerrys
and cameras were not allowed inside the
The 30-year-old man was read the charges
by Judge Harris and was asked if he
understood the charges, to which the
defendant said, "Yes."
The defendant was asked if he wished Logan County Public Defender Patrick Timoney
be his legal counsel, to which he also said,
Logan County State's Attorney Michael
McIntosh will be assisted by the Illinois
attorney general's office in the prosecution
of the case.
Harris is accused of killing Rick and
Ruth Gee and three of their children. The
family was found dead in their Beason home
Sept. 21. He also faces attempted murder
charges in connection with the sole
survivor, 3-year-old Tabitha Gee.
The judge advised the defendant that each
first-degree murder charge carried a minimum
of 20 years in prison up to a maximum of 60
years. If convicted of two or more of the
murders, Harris could be sentenced to
mandatory life in prison.
The judge also advised the defendant
that under certain circumstances a sentence
of death could be imposed.
Bail was refused and a further hearing
was scheduled for Tuesday at 3 p.m.