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Prosecutors drop some charges in Beason slayings

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Prosecutors have dropped 25 murder charges against Christopher Harris, the first of two brothers to go to trial in the killings of a central Illinois couple and three of their children. Harris still faces 33 murder charges.

Prospective jurors are expected to fill out questionnaires Tuesday in a courtroom in Peoria.

The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reports (http://bit.ly/12XtX5s) the dropped charges are part of prosecutors' efforts to streamline the case. They've also dropped charges of criminal sexual assault.

Harris and his brother, Jason, have pleaded not guilty to murder in the September 2009 beating deaths of a Beason family.

The trial was moved to Peoria after Christopher Harris' attorneys argued that their client might not get a fair trial in Logan County because of pretrial publicity.

Jason Harris' trial hasn't been scheduled.

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