A Chicago man on parole for an attempted murder conviction beat an elderly nurse to death in her Bridgeport garage , stole her wedding and engagement rings and used them to propose to his girlfriend.
Raymond Harris, 36, was ordered held without bail on charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery in the Oct. 22 slaying of Virginia Perillo, 73.
Prosecutors said Harris, who was paroled in May, attacked Perillo as she was getting out of her car in her garage in the 3300 block of South Parnell Avenue. He stole her purse and wedding and engagement rings.
A longtime nurse at Rush University Medical Center, Perillo suffered serious head wounds and never regained consciousness before dying the next day.
On the night of the assault, Harris went to a party wearing “brand new clothes” and showed the rings off to a witness, asking which of them he should use to propose to his girlfriend, Assistant State’s Attorney Melissa Howlett said.
He later proposed using both rings, Howlett said. Authorities tracked down the man’s fiancé and found the rings on her finger. They were later identified by Perillo’s family as the ones she wore.
Howlett also said that DNA recovered from a blood-stained men’s watch found inside Perillo’s car matched Harris.
Harris, of northwest suburban Carpentersville, was arrested Tuesday afternoon in Elgin.
He was convicted in 1997 of attempted murder and aggravated arson and sentenced to 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, according to court records.
In that case, Harris broke into a Chicago home and raped and beat a woman “over a period of several hours,” then knocked her out, tied her up and set three separate fires in the home, Howlett said.
“The victim woke up with her legs on fire,” Howlett said. She suffered third-degree burns and was hospitalized for six weeks.
Harris had also been sentenced in 1993 to six years in prison for armed robbery, records show.