Crime & Courts

McHenry man found guilty of first-degree murder in wife's 2016 stabbing death

Anthony J. Harrison, 33, of McHenry
Anthony J. Harrison, 33, of McHenry

Family members of stabbing victim Laura Harrison let out sighs of relief Wednesday as a judge found Laura’s husband, 33-year-old Anthony Harrison, guilty of murdering his wife.

Anthony Harrison faces 20 to 60 years in prison for first-degree murder.

His actions after 30-year-old Laura Harrison’s death suggested he had a guilty conscience, Judge James Cowlin said Wednesday.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors showed evidence that Anthony Harrison waited two days before calling the police and reporting that he killed his wife and had tried to take his own life. In those two days, Anthony Harrison bought cleaning supplies and fire-starters and dug a hole in the yard, prosecutors said.

His attorney, McHenry County Assistant Public Defender Kim Messer, declined to comment. Messer previously had asked the judge to consider second-degree murder as an alternative verdict to first-degree murder, claiming Laura Harrison intentionally provoked her husband to become violent so police would remove him from the couple’s McHenry home.

“It’s not reasonable to believe Laura would subject herself to another beating by the defendant,” Cowlin said. “She knew what he was capable of.”

A 2015 altercation between the pair turned out to be a grim foreshadowing of the events that would take place months later.

On Dec. 25, 2016, Anthony Harrison was arrested and charged with domestic battery after police said he “struck and scratched” a 100-pound Laura Harrison on her chest and neck while he pushed her to the floor at their McHenry home.

Anthony Harrison was close to accepting a plea deal on the misdemeanor offense just before authorities filed charges for his wife’s murder.

During a phone call Laura Harrison placed about 6 p.m. June 4, 2016, McHenry police told her that it likely would take a physical act of violence to have Anthony Harrison removed from their home.

Attorneys believe Laura Harrison was stabbed multiple times in the kitchen sometime between 6 and 10 p.m. that evening.

In addition to telling the 911 dispatcher that he killed his wife, Anthony Harrison also wrote the admission in a letter intercepted by jail personnel, and used a Sharpie marker to write “I did this” on the wall in the basement where her body was found, Cowlin said.

Members of Laura Harrison’s family did not wish to comment Wednesday.

A sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 16.

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