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Murder Suspect Accused Of Using Victim’s Rings To Propose To Girlfriend

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Raymond Harris, 36, is charged with first-degree murder and robbery in the beating death of Virginia Perillo, 73, in her garage in Bridgeport on Oct. 22, 2011. (Credit: Chicago Police Department)

Raymond Harris, 36, is charged with first-degree murder and robbery in the beating death of Virginia Perillo, 73, in her garage in Bridgeport on Oct. 22, 2011. (Credit: Chicago Police Department)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – A Carpentersville man allegedly beat an elderly woman to death in her garage last month and then used the victim’s engagement and wedding rings to propose to his girlfriend.

Raymond Harris, 36, was charged with first-degree murder and robbery on Thursday, police said. He was ordered held without bail at a bond hearing Thursday afternoon.

Virginia Perillo was found severely beaten and unconscious in her open garage around 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 in the 3300 block of South Parnell Avenue. She later died at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

Cook County prosecutors said Harris stole Perillo’s wedding and engagement rings in the attack and that he used them to propose to his girlfriend five days after the murder.

Police said DNA found on evidence at the crime scene led them to Harris, who was paroled in May after serving 14 years of a 30-year sentence for attempted murder and aggravated arson. He’d also done time for an armed robbery in 1993.

virginia perillo 1024 Murder Suspect Accused Of Using Victims Rings To Propose To Girlfriend

Virginia Perillo, 73, was found beaten to death in the garage of her Bridgeport home on Oct. 22, 2011. (Family Photo)

Perillo was a nurse at Rush University Medical Center for more than 40 years. Co-workers said she could have retired years ago, but she simply didn’t know the meaning of the word.

“She embraced nursing. She often would say she thought it was a privilege and an honor to be a nurse,” her supervisor Chris Lowry said.

One co-worker said it was an honor to have known her. That’s the kind of impression she made on both colleagues and her Bridgeport neighbors and that’s why they were shocked she lost her life in such a senseless way.

Her husband was hospitalized with a stroke and police said she was returning home from visiting him when she was attacked in an apparent robbery in her garage. Her car was still running when a neighbor found her in the garage.

Perillo left behind three sons and her husband.

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