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Raymond Harris is a career criminal who has been in and out of prison for most of his adult life. The 36-year old thug saved his most brutal crime for last.
Chicago police say Harris beat and robbed 73-year old Virginia Perillo last month in the garage of her home, leaving her bleeding and brain dead. Harris then took two wedding rings stolen from Perillo and proposed to his girlfriend.
Perillo died from injuries suffered in the beating, but police were able to tie Harris to the crime because he left his watch behind. His DNA was matched using the police department's criminal database.
Harris was just released from prison in May 2011 after serving 13 years of a 30-year sentence for attempted murder and aggravated arson. While committing that 1997 crime prosecutors say he broke into the home of a woman, beating and raping her repeatedly over several hours. He then slit the victim's throat, knocked her unconscious and set her house on fire. The woman suffered third-degree burns but survived. Harris had only been out of jail for a few weeks on an armed robbery conviction when he committed that crime.
He was arrested Tuesday and charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery in Perillo's death.
“It has been a stressful and busy time for us knowing that the person that murdered my mom was still out there," Perillo's family said in a statement via NBC Chicago. "We’re just relieved knowing that there is one less criminal on the street. We can begin the healing process and put some closure to this and hopefully find the answers as to why.”
Harris is due back in court November 29 for a status hearing.