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North Aurora man pleads guilty in murder of father

Updated: December 20, 2013 4:51PM

A 25-year-old North Aurora man admitted Friday to the stabbing death of his father last year.

As part of an agreement with prosecutors on Friday, Martrell Harris was sentenced by Kane County Judge John Barsanti to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. He had been charged with first-degree murder after police found his father, Michael Harris Sr., unresponsive at their home in August 2012.

North Aurora police were called to the home in the Tanner Trails subdivision on the morning of Aug. 20, 2012. Officers found the elder Harris on the front porch with a stab wound to the chest. He died a short time later at a nearby hospital.

Prosecutors said the incident started as a domestic altercation among several members of the Harris family, and then between the elder Harris and his wife. At one point Martrell pushed his father into a closet and then went to retrieve a knife because he was fearful family members were “in danger of imminent harm.” An argument between Martrell and his father escalated into a fight, during which Martrell pulled a knife from his back pocket and stabbed his father once, prosecutors said.

Manhunt for suspect

A brief manhunt, which prompted a community alert, involving a helicopter and airplane followed reports of Martrell Harris fleeing the home, as well as a police officer seeing a suspicious man running into a nearby wooded area. Harris was found hiding under a tarp in the garage a few hours after the discovery of his father’s body.

Harris has remained in Kane County Jail on $1 million bail since his arrest.

He will receive credit for 488 days spent in the jail and is eligible to receive day-for-day credit on his prison term, according to prosecutors.

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