CHICAGO (AP) – A Rockford man on trial in the death of a 2-year-old boy and the dumping of his dismembered remains in a Chicago lagoon took the witness stand and declared his innocence.

Prosecutors haven’t said how Kyrian Knox died, but allege 44-year-old Kamel Harris killed the toddler before scattering the boy’s weighted-down remains in the West Side lagoon.

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Kyrian Knox (Source: Facebook)

Harris spoke in quiet tones Wednesday as he described Kyrian as well-behaved and small for his age. Harris said Kyrian’s mother left him in Harris’ care in August 2015 as she and Harris’ daughter left for Iowa to set up new jobs.

He told jurors three people later showed up at his residence, saying they were there to pick up Kyrian and allowed the boy to go.

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Days later, the boy’s dismembered body was discovered in the lagoon.

Prosecutors earlier presented testimony from jailhouse informants who said they heard Harris admit to the killing while locked up on an unrelated matter in Winnebago County.

On Wednesday, Harris denied their testimony, suggesting they lied about the case for their own benefit.

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