Attorney for twins charged in home invasion asked to withdraw

Monday, August 4, 2008 | 5:17 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA - Two of five men charged in a north Columbia home invasion that occurred in September 2007 during which a 16-year-old girl was sexually assaulted asked their attorney to withdraw from the case at a pre-trial conference held Monday.

Citing unresolvable differences, twin brothers James T. and Jamie C. Harris, 15 at the time of the incident, and their attorney, Gregg T. Hyder, parted ways.

"I don't know how to proceed," Hyder said.

Boone County Circuit Judge Jodie Asel appointed a public defender to determine the young men's eligibility to receive counsel. A motion will be filed to officially withdraw Hyder from the case during an Aug. 11 pre-trial counsel status hearing.

The home invasion occurred on Sept. 18, 2007, when John Gunn and his wife, Anita, went out for the evening, leaving their five children, ages 7 to 16, at home. Five men, at least one of whom was armed, waited for the parents to leave before entering the house on Citadel Drive. Wearing bandanas over their faces, the men bound some of the children with duct tape. They then ransacked the house, stealing objects of value, including a video game console, jewelry, food, household furnishings and change. The oldest daughter, 16 at the time of the incident, was then raped and sodomized.

James and Jamie Harris face charges of felonious restraint, forcible rape, forcible sodomy, first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action, according to Missouri CaseNet.

The three other men charged in the crime have pleaded guilty to various charges.

Jarrod Alexander Lilly, 30, pleaded guilty to Class C felony sexual assault and first-degree robbery on July 7. Lilly was sentenced to seven years for the sexual assault and 20 years for the robbery charge, to be served concurrently.

On June 23, Christopher Lee Jacobs, now 18, pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree robbery and first-degree burglary. Jacobs received sentences of 15 years for the robbery and seven years for the burglary, to be served concurrently.

Also on June 23, Patrick J. Burgess, 16 at the time of the incident, pleaded guilty to felony sexual assault and first-degree robbery. Burgess received seven years for the sexual assault and 18 years for the robbery, to be served concurrently.


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