Trial begins for man accused of killing daughters in ritual

Testimony to begin in Harris trial

SIOUX CITY — After more than a year of preparation and several delays, a jury will hear from attorneys and witnesses today as the double-murder trial of Lawrence Douglas Harris Sr. begins.

Harris, 26, is accused of killing his young stepdaughters during some kind of ritual. He has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers will try to prove that he was legally insane when the crimes were committed.

When firefighters went to the family’s rented house at 1420 Nebraska St. in response to a 911 call on Jan. 6, 2008, they found the girls, Kendra Suing, 10, and Alysha Suing, 8, dead in their second-floor bedroom. Harris told police the children died while he was casting a spell that “had gone bad,” and he told them where to find his “spell notebook,” which included passages from “The Satanic Bible.”

The jury of five men and seven women, plus a man and two women who will serve as alternate jurors, will hear first from prosecuting attorneys, Assistant Woodbury County Attorneys Mark Campbell and Terry Ganzel, who will lay out their case against Harris. Next, Assistant Public Defenders Mike Williams and Bryan Goodman will tell the jury why Harris is not guilty of the two first-degree murder charges against him.
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The trial is expected to last two to three weeks.

– Source: Testimony to begin in Harris trial, Molly Montag, Sioux City Journal, Jan. 16, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

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