Carbondale man sentenced to 21 years on armed robbery charge

Published: Feb. 17, 2016 at 7:41 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2016 at 8:04 PM CST
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JACKSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - The Jackson County State's Attorney is reporting that a Carbondale man has been sentenced to 21 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to the charge of armed robbery on November 20, 2015.

On June, 18 2015, Christopher Harris, 26, of Carbondale, walked into the Circle K gas station at 315 E. Walnut Street in Carbondale  wearing a dress and a wig. Harris then held the gas station attendant at gun point and robbed the store of $98 and two packages of cigarettes.

When officers with the Carbondale Police Department responded to the scene, they noticed a gold Pontiac driving the wrong way on a one way street on S. Graham Street, near the Circle K gas station.

An officer conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle, and the driver identified himself as Cortez Harris.

While speaking with the driver, the officer saw the wig in the front passenger floorboard and realized the individual was wearing a dress. The officer then pulled his service weapon out and ordered Harris out of the car. He refused to do so and reversed the vehicle.

When the vehicle reversed, it dragged the officer across the parking lot. The officer was able to free himself, and the suspect fled in the vehicle northbound down an alley.

The officer was able to get back into his patrol vehicle and began pursuing Harris.

Harris eventually abandoned his vehicle near 508 S. Logan Street, and ran into the woods. Officers then set up a perimeter around the area in an attempt to find him.

After a few hours of searching, the officers found Harris in an abandoned house at 308 E. College Street. He was found under a pile of debris and had taken off his clothes.

He was positively identified by the officer who had been dragged by the suspect's vehicle. The wig, the clothing, and a purse containing the money, the cigarettes and a loaded Highpoint 9 mm firearm were found near the house.

The Jackson County State's Attorney's office charged the defendant on June 19, 2015 with armed robbery with a firearm (a class X felony), aggravated battery of a police officer (a class 2 felony), felon in possession of a firearm (a Class 2 felony) and obstructing identification (a class 4 felony).

On November 20, 2015, the defendant openly pleaded to the amended charge of armed robbery (also a class X felony) and the remaining charges were dismissed.

On Wednesday, Feb. 17, a Jackson County judge sentenced Harris to 21 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, along with three years of mandatory supervised release.

This investigation was conducted by the Carbondale Police Department. Assistant State's Attorney Patrick J. Brewster was responsible for the prosecution of this case.

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