The trial of 33-year-old Anthony Harrison, who is accused in the 2016 slaying of his wife, Laura Harrison, began Monday in a crowded McHenry County courtroom.
Prosecutors presented evidence – such as disabled smoke detectors, a gas can, $100 Visa gift cards and blood-stained firewood – that suggested Anthony Harrison had plans to burn down the couple’s home after stabbing his wife in the neck three times. Prosecutors also said Anthony Harrison was prepared to bury his wife’s body, evident by a hole in the yard.
Laura Harrison died June 4, 2016, as a result of what McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Zalud called Anthony Harrison’s “insidious actions.”
Anthony Harrison’s attorney, McHenry County Assistant Public Defender Kim Messer, offered a brief opening statement asking McHenry County Judge James Cowlin to find Anthony Harrison not guilty. Despite the graphic nature of some of the state’s evidence, prosecutors won’t be able to prove first-degree murder, she said.
The Friday before Laura Harrison’s death, she happily had announced plans to leave Anthony Harrison and have him move out of their home within the next two weeks, her former co-worker, Nicole Karolkiewicz, testified. Karolkiewicz described Laura Harrison as having been excited for her future without Anthony Harrison, as though “a weight was lifted off her shoulders.”
The next day, June 4, 2016, Laura called Centegra’s McHenry County Crisis Program hotline to inquire about having Anthony Harrison removed from the McHenry home they settled down in shortly after being married.
The crisis worker told Laura Harrison that unless she got an order of protection through McHenry County court, it would take an act of violence to have police remove Anthony Harrison from the home. Laura Harrison was killed later that day.
It wasn’t the first time Anthony Harrison had been violent with his wife. She had called police in December 2015 to report that Anthony Harrison “attacked” her after a fight about repairs to their washing machine.
Police would discover Laura Harrison’s body in the laundry room months later, faceup beneath a pile of firewood.
Authorities were led to her body when Anthony Harrison called 911 on June 6, 2016, and told dispatchers that he stabbed himself in the throat multiple times. When police asked if anyone else was home, he said, “My wife, but she’s dead,” according to the 911 audio.
The state is expected to call three additional witnesses Tuesday.