Motions for a Cass County man to receive a new murder trial were denied yesterday afternoon.
Defense counsel Mark Wykoff filed a motion for a new trial for 72 year old Robert D. Harris in Cass County on June 3rd. The motion outlined 8 separate paragraphs of reasons asking for Harris’ guilty verdicts on 2 counts of first degree murder to be reversed. Harris was found guilty by a jury in Cass County Court on May 5th.
Cass County State’s Attorney Craig Miller says the stipulations in the motion are various in nature: “One of the allegations was hearing impairment or hearing deficiency during the trial. A number of other paragraphs in the motion include that the defense believes the 9-1-1 calls used at trial were hearsay, that the experts who testified at the trial were not properly disclosed, and some of the photographs used as evidence were prejudicial or should not have been admitted. We, obviously as the state, objected to that motion. The judge did not abuse his discretion when he made rulings during the trial itself, and that there was no notice during the trial of any sort of hearing impairment, that the 9-1-1 calls were not hearsay and they fall under what’s called a ‘hearsay exception’ when it comes to the rules of evidence, and that the experts were properly disclosed and the defense had their reports months before the trial actually began. The judge, more or less, on the record said the same as the state, and those are the reasons the judge systematically went through each paragraph of the motion and that’s the reason why he denied each one of those stipulations.”
The denial was rendered by Cass County Judge Timothy J. Wessel who presided over the duration of the murder trial.
Sentencing in the case has been set for August 30th. Miller says the state is now preparing to gather victim impact statements.
Miller says according to Illinois truth in sentencing laws, Harris at the minimum faces life imprisonment without the possibility for parole.