Testimony: Brother Saw Chase That Led To AR-15 Shootings In Normal | WGLT

Testimony: Brother Saw Chase That Led To AR-15 Shootings In Normal

Jun 10, 2020

UPDATED 4:20 p.m. | Noah Harrison watched as his younger brother pursued two men as they ran from his family’s apartment after an armed robbery that ended in a hail of gunfire that killed the suspects, according to testimony Wednesday at Christopher Harrison’s murder trial.

“So he chased them out of the apartment, down the hall, down the steps and opened fire,” Noah Harrison told Normal Police Officer Luke Scaglione.

Reginald Hart Jr., left, and Joseph Gardner were fatally shot at a Normal apartment building in April 2018.
Credit David Proeber / The Pantagraph (pool)

The patrol officer was among several officers to offer testimony during the third day of Harrison’s murder trial in the April 2018 deaths of Joseph Gardner, 20, and Reginald Hart Jr., 19.

Scaglione described Noah as “clearly upset, just very emotional and distraught” after the incident at the Lancaster Heights apartment complex.

Jurors watched a 20-minute squad car video recorded shortly after the victims’ bodies were found in the entryway of the building. In a voice so soft his words are hard to hear, Noah told the officer, “Apparently according to Chris they were about to rob him.” He went on to tell the officer he did not know if the two victims were armed.

In other testimony Wednesday, NPD Sgt. Robert Cherry described items collected during a police search of Harrison’s bedroom that pointed to drug dealing and the fruits of drug sales.

“I don’t recall someone of Mr. Harrison’s age having that many pairs of expensive tennis shoes," Cherry said of the more than 20 pairs of shoes, including some valued at more than $100. Police also found marijuana, packaging materials and a scale.

Claiming self-defense

Jurors learned Tuesday that Harrison was babysitting his girlfriend’s 6-month old daughter when the violence erupted on April 25, 2018.

Defense lawyer Kevin Sanborn and prosecutors Jeff Horve and David Fitt agree Harrison fired the shots that killed the two men. Harrison contends, however, that he acted in self-defense against the robbery. Harrison, then 17, was armed with an AR-15 assault-style rifle.

Jurors on Wednesday watched a short video of a person authorities identified as Gardner spray painting parts of a sawed-off shotgun. The person commented, “That’s what time it is,” as he painted the gun barrel. The barrel was located in Gardner’s apartment, along with a box for a handgun, after his death.

Prior to the trial, Harrison pleaded guilty to seven gun and drug charges related to the incident. He has not been sentenced on those charges.

The trial continues Thursday with forensic pathologist Dr. Scott Denton expected to testify.

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