Trials delayed for two men charged in Sept. 2007 home invasion

Monday, August 11, 2008 | 5:35 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Two of the five men charged in a September 2007 north Columbia home invasion, during which a 16-year-old girl was sexually assaulted, had their jury trials delayed for a sixth time at a hearing held Monday in Boone County Circuit Court. The trials were scheduled to begin Aug. 13.

Twin brothers James T. and Jamie C. Harris, who were 15 at the time of the incident, asked their private attorney, Gregg T. Hyder, to withdraw from the case at a pre-trial conference held Aug. 4. At the time, the young men asked to be represented by public defenders. Their eligibility is still being determined.

Paul Hood of the Public Defender's Office said the initial response was to refuse to represent either young man because they previously hired private counsel. There will, however, be further consultation and discussion before a final determination of eligibility is made at a counsel status hearing set for Aug. 18.

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. Their oldest daughter, who was 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, who was 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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