Watseka man faces new trial
Iroquois County prosecutors will forge ahead in preparing a new trial for a Watseka man facing nearly two dozen charges involving criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse.
A new trial date will have to be determined by the courts.
In Watseka this past week, an Iroquois County jury could not decide guilt or innocence for 50-year-old Jeff Harman.
The Watseka resident is charged with predatory criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
The accusations stem from alleged incidents between 1995-1999. Three now-grown women testified in court that Harman sexually assaulted them when they were under the age of 13.
And despite Harman's own confession to police investigators in a recorded interrogation, an 8 men, four women jury could not decide the case after several hours over two days of deliberations.
Following his confession, Harman pleaded not guilty and recanted his confession in court.
Iroquois County State's Attorney Jim Devine wasn't happy with the 10-2 vote to convict.
"It's disappointing to result in a hung jury. We'll reevaluate the findings and move ahead toward a new trial," Devine said. "We have three witnesses, victims who are committed and ready to go forward."
Defense Attorney Raymond Wigell said he has the utmost respect for the case presented by Devine and ass't S-A Alex O'Brien.
"The jury worked very hard, but they had obvious questions or they wouldn't have been deadlocked," Wigell said afterwards. "We now go back to work and prepare for the next trial."