Our Pledge To You


Man guilty of killing elderly woman, taking rings to propose to girlfriend

A Cook County jury Thursday convicted a Carpentersville man of robbing and killing an elderly Bridgeport woman and then using her stolen wedding and engagement rings to propose to his high school sweetheart.

“We think it’s a little demented, creepy,” Virginia Perillo’s eldest son, John, said of how Raymond Harris bludgeoned her to death and then gave her jewelry to his girlfriend during a romantic moment. “Mr. Harris has no morals. . . . All he cares about is himself.”

He said there will always be “a gap” in his and his family’s life, but he was glad the trial was over.

Mark Perillo, who will turn 39 on Friday, called the guilty verdicts an “early birthday” present.

The jury took roughly three hours to convict Harris, 40, of murder and robbery.

Harris was arrested a month after a neighbor found Virginia Perillo facedown in a pool of blood next to a running car in her garage on Oct. 22, 2011.

The night the 73-year-old nurse was killed, Harris, a parolee, went to a party in new clothes and asked his friend which of the stolen rings he should use to propose, authorities said at the time.

Five days later, Harris popped the question to his love, Lorraine Reed.

Reed testified earlier this week that she said “Yes.”

Reed later turned the rings over to Chicago Police detectives who arrived at her home and questioned her about Harris.

“I took the rings off my fingers” and gave them to detectives, Reed said.

Harris’ DNA was found on a bloody watch that he left inside a car in Virginia Perillo’s garage in the 3300 block of South Parnell. Harris also took Virginia Perillo’s purse during the deadly beating.

Hours before she was killed in the brutal assault, she spent the day attending church, buying groceries and visiting an area hospital to check on her husband, who had suffered a stroke, her family said.

Her husband couldn’t attend this week’s trial because of his failing health. Had she still been alive, Virginia Perillo would probably be spending time taking care of him, the couple’s youngest son, Michael, said Thursday.

Harris was paroled in May 2011 after serving 13 years of a 30-year sentence for his 1997 attempted murder and aggravated arson convictions.

Just three weeks before that attack, Harris had been released from prison for a 1993 armed robbery, vehicular invasion and burglary. In that case, Harris brandished a gun at a woman leaving her car outside her home.