Monday, January 20, 2014
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Discovery ID to air documentary on Beason murders tonight at 8

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[January 20, 2014]  Tonight at 8 the Discovery ID channel, also known as the Investigation Discovery channel, will air a 60-minute documentary on the Beason murders.

The show is entitled "Murder Comes to Town. The Devil Wears Sneakers" and is rated as a TV-14 show.

The teaser for the show reads: "A tight-knit Illinois farming town is rocked when a family of five is found beaten to death in their home. When the bodies of the Gee family are discovered, the tiny town of Beason, IL finds itself in the midst of a gruesome murder mystery."

Logan County Sheriff Steve Nichols said Friday that he, State's Attorney Jonathan Wright and former Lincoln Police Department Chief Stuart Erlenbush were interviewed for the documentary. Nichols said he believes that for those who wish to watch, the documentary will offer some additional insight into the investigation of the murders.

On May 31, 2013, Christopher Harris was found guilty by a Peoria County jury of the brutal murders of five members of the Rick and Ruth Gee family, which included three children. A fourth child was also beaten to near death, but survived.

On May 30, at the end of the gruesome and explicit trial, Assistant Attorney General Michael Atterberry delivered his closing remarks. In those remarks, he commented that in covering up his crime, Harris had felt he was outsmarting the police. He had even gone so far as to buy new sneakers in a different size so that his shoe prints would not match those at the crime scene.

During the trial, Harris' defense attorneys attempted to place the blame for the killings on one of the deceased children, Dillen Constant. Attorney Dan Fultz painted a picture of the young boy as being violent, out of control and deprived of needed medication that resulted in him being unstable.

As Fultz wound down his closing remarks, he referred to an old Johnny Cash song about a man who steals pieces to a car over a number of years and ends up building a Frankenstein vehicle from the parts. Fultz said the prosecution's case was like that car: "Nothing fits, it does run, but it is a piece of crap."

When Wright delivered the prosecution rebuttal, he swiftly poked at the defense, saying he was not going to come to the jury with Johnny Cash songs. He said the trial was about Rick Gee, Ruth Gee, Justina, Dillen, Austin and Tabitha.

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The jury then received their instructions and began deliberation. They broke for the night and returned on May 31 to finish their work. By shortly after noon, they were back in the courtroom with their verdicts of guilty on multiple counts of murder as well as attempted murder and other related crimes.

On July 19 Harris was sentenced to consecutive life sentences for the five murders. He was given an opportunity to speak and said he was sorry for the stupid mistakes he had made the night of the murders, but contended that he did not commit the crimes.

As Judge Scott Drazewski delivered his decisions, he spoke to Harris directly, saying: "I search for words and I don't have sufficient vocabulary. You deserve punishment. Society must be protected."

He continued: "Some say this will bring closure. But that isn't true. The family had to endure this trial, and now they've today had to hear your hypocritical statement."

The typical format for the Discovery ID productions includes re-enactments of events leading up to and including the crime, with a narrative in the background. The shows also typically feature taped commentary from investigators, prosecutors and family members of victims.

Friday afternoon Nichols said he believed family members were interviewed for the show, but he did not know whether staff members from the attorney general's office were also included.


Investigation Discovery is a Discovery TV channel.

You can watch the show at 8 p.m. Central time. The listings are in Eastern time. "Murder Comes to Town: The devil wears sneakers."

  • Comcast Xfinity, Channel 471

  • Direct TV, Channel 285

  • Dish Network, Channel 192

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