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Defense blames teen for 2009 Beason slayings

LINCOLN, Ill. (AP) — The attorney for a central Illinois man accused of killing a Beason couple and their three children admits his client killed the family's 14-year-old son but says the teen killed the other family members.

Attorney Dan Fultz said during a court hearing Wednesday in Lincoln that Christopher Harris walked into the family's home during Dillen Constant's killing spree. Harris killed Constant in self-defense, the attorney claimed.

Harris is accused along with his brother, Jason Harris, of using a tire iron to kill Ruth and Rick Gee and three of the couple's children in 2009. They're also charged with attempted murder for an attack on the Gees' then 3-year-old daughter. Beason is about 40 miles northeast of Springfield and is home to only a few hundred people.

In a motion seeking access to any school, medical and juvenile court records available for Dillen Constant, the defense portrayed him as a troubled boy capable of violence.

"He (Constant) killed his family," Fultz said in court. "He had violent tendencies toward everybody."

Fultz and another defense attorney claimed the boy was accused of stealing money from his family days before his death and that he had also been involved in an altercation aboard a school bus.

But prosecutor Steven Nate said the defense offered no solid argument that available records contain any evidence to back up Fultz's claim.

"They're guessing," Nate said. "They're hoping to find something."

The judge said Fultz's request for access to the records was short on details and denied it. The attorney said he would try again.

Prosecutors have indicated they believe Christopher Harris is primarily responsible for the killings. He was once married to Nicole Gee, another daughter of Rick Gee who was not at the home at the time of the killings.

Christopher Harris is scheduled for trial on April 29. Jason Harris' next court date is a Nov. 30 hearing on the status of his case.

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