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Crime & Courts

New trial granted in rural Ottawa home invasion case

DeAngelo Harris
DeAngelo Harris

On Thursday, a new trial was ordered in a rural Ottawa home invasion case.

DeAngelo B. Harris, 24, Country Club Hills, was found guilty Oct. 10 of entering a man's home in March 2017, threatening him with a pistol shot and stealing his wristwatch, wallet, credit card and $164. The victim was 71-years-old at the time.

Circuit Judge Cynthia Raccuglia determined guilt, as Harris opted to have the judge, instead of a jury, decide the case.

Harris was to be sentenced Thursday, but his attorney, Public Defender Tim Cappellini, said Harris deserved a new trial for a couple of reasons, including that Raccuglia, during trial, improperly considered Harris' mental health records, which were never introduced as evidence in the trial.

The records had come into play earlier in the case, when Harris was found mentally unfit for trial. He was later found fit.

Raccuglia agreed she should not have reviewed the records while deciding the case.

"It's my fault. I have to correct that," Raccuglia said.

Raccuglia ordered a new trial, but did not set a trial date. Instead, she set a status hearing for Wednesday, Jan. 23. Harris remains in the county jail.

State's Attorney Karen Donnelly told Raccuglia the "state appreciates your candor."

The prosecution has said the home invasion came at the end of a crime spree by Harris, which included armed robberies of three gas stations in the suburbs. Harris stole cash and whiskey during the holdups, according to prosecutors, who added the car Harris drove to rural Ottawa was stolen in Gary, Ind.

The La Salle County Sheriff's Office arrested Harris at the rural Ottawa home.

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