A jury in Cook County convicted a suburban Chicago man of robbing and murdering an elderly Bridgeport woman in order to take her set of wedding rings to propose to his girlfriend.
On November 5, the jury convicted Raymond Harris, 40, of killing 73-year-old Virginia Perillo in the garage of her Chicago Bridgeport neighborhood home in October of 2011.
During the trial, it was revealed that one of the reasons for his robbery was to steal the woman’s wedding rings. It was reported that Harris took the rings to his girlfriend and asked her to marry him.
“We think it’s a little demented, creepy,” Virginia Perillo’s eldest son John said. “Mr. Harris has no morals… All he cares about is himself.”
John Perillo said the verdict brought “legal closure,” but he also said, “there’s never really closure to the whole event. I mean, we’re still feeling the effects of what happened to our mom. There will always remain a gap in our life, and her life was taken away way too soon.”
Another of the victim’s sons, Mark Perillo said that the guilty verdict was “an early birthday present,” as he is to turn 39 on Friday.
The crime was one of opportunity, as Harris just happened to be in the area when he saw the elderly woman arriving home after grocery shopping.
“He was there, and he was on her,” Assistant State’s Attorney Amy Watroba said during her closing arguments. “He pummeled her face. He beat her. He pounded her… until she was laying lifeless on the ground.”
After he murdered the woman, Harris went to a party and asked friends which of the stolen rings he should use to propose. Several days later, he did propose. It was reported his girlfriend said, “yes,” and weeks later, police discovered Harris’s girlfriend wearing the stolen rings.
This isn’t the first violent crime Harris committed. In 1997, the now convicted murderer broke into another woman’s home and raped her. Worse, he then tied her up and lit her on fire. The woman suffered third-degree burns and suffered in a Chicago burn unit for some six weeks.
Harris was sentenced to 30 years in prison for that crime but served less than 15. This latest crime could earn him a life sentence.
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