Police: Murder suspect proposed with nurse's ring

November 10, 2011 3:16:40 PM PST
Investigators say a Carpentersville man fatally beat a Bridgeport woman in her garage and then used his victim's wedding ring to propose to his girlfriend just days later.

Raymond Harris, 36, of northwest suburban Carpentersville, appeared in court on Thursday, wearing a sequined leather jacket, yellow hoodie and jeans. He was formally charged with first-degree murder and robbery in the death of Virginia Perillo. The 73-year-old woman worked as a nurse at Rush Medical Center for 40 years. Police say she was beaten to death by Harris in the garage of her Bridgeport home, located in the 3300-block of South Parnell, on October 23. She died the next day.

Judge Peggy Chiampas denied bond for Harris, who allegedly showed up at a party the night of a murder with new clothes and the victim's rings.

"A witness told the Chicago police the defendent was wearing brand new clothes and showed her two rings-- a wedding and engagement ring. He asked the witness which one he was to give his girlfriend first. The defendent then proposed to his girlfriend on October 27, using what has now been identified as the victim's wedding and engagement rings," said Melissa Howlett, assistant state's attorney.

Police say Harris' fiancee was wearing Perillo's rings when they were recovered.

"I'm surprised. . . for somebody just to steal a ring and murdered a person, just to turn around and propose to his girlfriend. That's outright wrong," John Perillo, the victim's son, said. Perillo has been off work since his mother was attacked.

Investigator also said Thursday that DNA from a bloodstained watch found in Perillo's car was a match for Harris, who was on parole after serving 13 years of a 30-years sentence for attempted murder and aggravated arson. In the earlier case, he'd beaten and raped his victim for several hours, and had set her house on fire. She escaped with severe wounds to her legs.

"Spending time in prison, or in a jail for 13 years, I would figure you have learned something out of that or had time to reflect on your own actions but apparently it has not," Jon Perillo said. "I do feel sorry for him as to why he did this. I'm sure on some level of his mentality that he did this for a reason and I just feel sad that he had to do this."

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