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Normal man facing murder charges pleads guilty to weapon, drug counts

Normal man facing murder charges pleads guilty to weapon, drug counts


BLOOMINGTON — A Normal man accused of murder in the shooting deaths of two men April 2018 at a Normal apartment complex pleaded guilty to weapons and drug charges related to the case at a motion hearing Wednesday afternoon.

Christopher Harrison, 19, entered a guilty plea to two counts of unlawful possession of a stolen firearm, two counts of possession of a firearm without a firearm owner's identification (FOID) card, one count of unlawful possession of cannabis with the intent to deliver and two misdemeanor charges for illegal possession of ammunition without a FOID.

Though Harrison did not make a plea agreement, three additional charges were dropped after his plea. The murder charges remain, and he is scheduled to go to trial Feb. 10.

Charges of possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm were dismissed because of additional evidence that came out of the investigation, Assistant State’s Attorney Jeff Horve said. A cannabis possession charge also was dismissed because it was legally covered by the charge of possession with intent to deliver, Horve said.

Harrison faces six counts of murder in the deaths of Joseph Gardner, 20, and Reginald Hart Jr., 19, both of Bloomington. He is accused of firing more than 20 rounds into the victims in the entryway of an apartment building along East College Avenue in Normal.

Harrison reportedly pointed police investigating the shootings to a trash bag in his apartment containing an AR-15, a handgun and shotgun. They also reportedly found 190 grams of pot, scales and packaging materials.

At Wednesday's hearing, prosecutors agreed to wait until after his February trial for sentencing on the charges to which he pleaded guilty Wednesday.

If Harrison is not convicted of murder or the charges are lessened, the seven charges to which ie pleaded guilty could be moved to juvenile court because he was underage at the time.

Contact Kelsey Watznauer at (309) 820-3254. Follow her on Twitter: @kwatznauer.


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