PEORIA — Dillen Constant was a happy 14-year-old, earning good grades in his special education classes in the weeks before he died, his former teachers testified Wednesday morning at the Chris Harris murder trial.
Harris, 34, is accused of killing Dillen in September 2009 at the same time he allegedly killed his parents, Rick and Ruth Gee, and two of his siblings.
Prosecutors called two Lincoln educators who worked with the teen who has been accused by Harris as the killer in the Gee family homicides.
Constant's wrestling coach also testified the youth earned the teams Inspiration Award in 2008.
The state's final witnesses countered earlier defense testimony that Constant was aggressive toward his family and other students.
Earlier Wednesday, it was learned that Harris' ex-wife and daughter will not testify for the defense at his murder trial as originally planned.
Problems with flight arrangements from Florida, where Nicole Gee and Alyssa Harris live, is behind the cancellation, said defense lawyer Peter Naylor.
Closing arguments in the four-week trial are scheduled for Thursday morning.
On Tuesday, Dillen's family and teachers testified they worried that his anger was becoming increasingly violent but family finances may have kept the youth from seeing a psychiatrist, according to statements Tuesday in the Chris Harris murder trial.
Constant, who was 14 when he was killed, was portrayed as a troubled young man who struggled with schoolwork and relationships.
Defense lawyer Daniel Fultz argued Tuesday the jury should hear statements from Rick Gee’s mother, Judith Stogdell, about concerns Gee had about his son two years before the slayings.
“It’s important to show this jury that the mother and father had serious concerns that he was going to act out in a violent way,” said Fultz.
Poverty may have kept the Gees from getting their son to a psychiatrist as recommended by a family doctor, said Fultz, noting that school records contain 248 referrals for assistance with behavioral issues.
Judge Scott Drazewski did not alter his earlier ruling banning Stogdell’s testimony about Gee’s concerns but he did allow Lincoln therapist Olivia Massena, who treated Dillen in 2007, to share Ruth Gee’s concerns about his “aggression towards siblings, problems at school — that sort of thing.”
This story will be updated.