news.com.auJames Paul Harris ‘decapitated James Gerety’s head with a guitar string’
6 hours ago April 02, 2014 5:32AM
A MAN accused of beheading another man with a guitar string has pleaded innocent to premeditated first-degree murder.
Police say 29-year-old James Paul Harris practised voodoo and kept the head of 49-year-old James Gerety to talk to after the March or April 2011 killing.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Gerety’s partial remains were found a year later in Carbondale, 29 kilometres south of Topeka, Kansas.
Harris’ former girlfriend testified in March that he told her he used a guitar string to sever Gerety’s head. She said he disposed of the body but kept the head in a bag. A Topeka police officer said the ex-girlfriend told him Harris practised voodoo and that he liked to talk to the head. She also said Harris told her he had shot the victim in the stomach, tortured him for two days at the house the couple shared before cutting off his head.
A part of the victim’s skull was discovered March 24, 2012, at a house in rural Carbondale in Osage County. Shirley Johnson, who lives with Jeff Harris, the defendant’s father, testified she was searching for mushrooms when she found a “ball” — the top of Gerety’s skull — and took it inside to show Jeff Harris.
District Court Judge Phillip Fromme noted prosecutors have listed 30 names of potential witnesses to testify during the trial.
Harris is believed to have buried the rest of the victim’s body on land owned by his father but those body parts haven’t been recovered.
He also allegedly had voodoo dolls made of cloth, which were named “Jimbo,” “Bob on the Hill” and “Poor Jimbo Bolinsky” and hung from a ceiling in his apartment.
A judge on Monday set Harris’ trial for June 2.