Raymond Harris, 36, of Carpentersville, Ill., was charged with first-degree murder and robbery in the Oct. 22 attack of Virginia Perillo, a 73-year-old nurse who was found face down and unconscious in her garage. Perillo died Oct. 23 from head injuries sustained in what appears to have been a brutal beating.

A police source told the Tribune that DNA evidence from a blood-stained wristwatch recovered from the scene of the murder led authorities to Harris.

Harris is alleged to have beaten and robbed Perillo, then attended a party where witnesses said he sported “brand new clothes” and showed off rings which he used later that night to propose to his girlfriend.

The family of the victim reportedly confirmed that rings being worn by Harris’ fiance belonged to Mrs. Perillo.

Harris was paroled earlier this year after serving 13 years of a 30-year prison sentence for forcing his way into a Chicago woman’s home, raping her, cutting her neck,  beating her and setting multiple fires to her home. Just weeks prior to that attack, he had been released from prison after serving time for armed robbery, vehicular invasion and burglary.

Although it is hard to believe this kind of evil resides in any human being, what is really impossible to fathom is that this man asked a woman to marry him, and she said yes. Has the fiance been happily showing off the engagement ring to her friends and family? A ring that was twisted off an elderly murder victim’s finger? Lord Almighty. Once her intended was arrested and held without bail, I do hope she called the whole thing off. kathleen cross