Arraignment has been set for a Cass County man accused of a double homicide in January.
71-year old Robert D. Harris of Virginia appeared in Cass County Court on Wednesday, February 3rd for a preliminary hearing on the shooting deaths of two women in Virginia last month.
Harris faces six counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Kathleen Wzientek and Brenda Crum after their bodies were discovered in Wzientek’s home on January 13th.
According to a report by the Cass County Star-Gazette, Illinois State Police Special Agent Travis Dunlap was the only witness to testify during the hearing. Cass County State’s Attorney Craig Miller says Dunlap’s testimony was enough for the Judge to set an arraignment.
“The judge heard evidence from the state through the agent Travis Dunlap, and based upon the evidence that was presented, the judge did find probable cause in that the state could move forward on all the information. Mr. Harris is set for arraignment February 16th, at 2:00 pm.”
According to the Star-Gazette report, Dunlap learned during his investigation that Harris and Wzientek were in a dating relationship that Wzientek ended on Saturday, January 12th. Dunlap testified that during the investigation, he interviewed David Miller, Wzientek’s son, who was present in the home on South East Street at the time of the shooting.
According to Dunlap’s testimony, Miller, Wzientek, and Crum saw Harris arrive at the home the day of the shooting. Miller told Dunlap that the three locked the door of the house to pretend they were not home. He says Miller indicated Harris had a key to the lock and while he was opening the door, the two women fled to a back bedroom.
Dunlap said Miller went to the front door and confronted Harris, telling him he was not welcome, and to leave. Miller told Dunlap it was then Harris produced what he called an older small caliber pistol, and that Miller remembered seeing a flash and hearing a gunshot.
Miller then stumbled back from the door and fell and hit his head on a piece of furniture. Dunlap testified that the injury left Miller “somewhat incapacitated” and that Miller remembered hearing multiple gunshots. Dunlap said Miller attempted to locate a gun in the home to confront Harris, but he had fled the scene by that time.
According to the special agent’s testimony, an emergency warrant was obtained which allowed police to ping Harris’ cell phone. Harris was located in rural Morgan County and taken into custody without incident a short time later.
According to testimony a .22 caliber Ruger pistol was found in the vehicle with Harris at the time of his arrest. During cross-examination, Dunlap was asked if Miller actually witnessed Harris shoot either victim, to which Dunlap indicated Miller had not.
According to the Star-Gazette report, evidence was collected at the scene and sent to the State Police Crime Lab, but due to a backlog, results could take up to three months to be returned.
Evidence collected includes both the weapon found in Harris’ vehicle and shell casings found at the crime scene. According to testimony, both the casings and rounds in the weapon were Federal brand ammunition.