Roberts man receives 73 years in prison

Roberts man receives 73 years in prison

PAXTON - David Hari will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars for the attempted murder of his estranged wife and the murder of her boyfriend.

Judge Donald Bernardi sentenced Hari, 40, of Roberts, to 48 years in prison on Thursday for the murder of Jeffrey Thomas, 39, of Paxton, and another 25 years in prison for the attempted murder of Lisa Hari, 36, of Paxton, at their home on Feb. 10, 2002.

Mr. Thomas, a member of the Navy Seabees who was scheduled to go overseas as part of the U.S. war on terrorism, died three days later at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.

Bernardi said the prison terms must be served consecutively. Under Illinois' Truth in Sentencing Law, David Hari must serve all 48 years of the first-degree murder sentence and at least 21 years for the first-degree attempted murder sentence.

Ford County State's Attorney Tony Lee had asked for 55 years for murder and 30 years for attempted murder.

?David Hari planted the gun, the murder weapon, in Lisa Hari's home on Jan. 12,? Lee said. ?The defendant had to give great thought to what this horrendous crime would do to his two sons.?

Defense attorney Gerald Rodeen asked Bernardi for an acquittal or a retrial, and, when he didn't get that, he requested a minimum sentence of 20 years for the murder and six years for the attempted murder.

?My client was suffering from major depression at the time of the incident,? Rodeen said. ?David should be allowed a chance to rehabilitate himself and become a contributing member of society.?

Bernardi said that in coming up with a sentence, he considered an earlier incident in which David Hari had put an unloaded gun to Lisa Hari's head and the fact that Mr. Thomas' murder took place in a residential neighborhood where other Paxton residents were endangered.

?It is fair to call this cold and calculated,? Bernardi said.

David Hari expressed sorrow for his actions. ?I realize my conduct has caused a terrible tragedy to this entire community, and I am sorry for what I have done,? David Hari said. ?I know I have been a disappointment to my family. Because of this crime, I will probably not see my sons until they are grown adults. I will never commit another crime as long as I live.?

Julie Thomas of Paxton, who was separated from Mr. Thomas, said David Hari deprived her two sons of having a father watch them play baseball, celebrate Christmas with them, play catch in the back yard or go camping.

?How many times does a little boy have to ask, ?Mom, will we get to see Dad in heaven?'? she said. ?Why should anyone think they should have the right to take a life??

Mr. Thomas' father, Alan Thomas of Ludlow, described what it was like when he sat by Jeff's hospital bed following the murder.

?Seeing him die is like seeing a part of yourself die,? he said.

Still wearing an engagement ring Mr. Thomas had given her, Lisa Hari said the shooting will leave permanent marks on her body.

She still has a bullet in her brain, she suffered permanent vision loss, lost hearing in her right ear, suffered from short-term memory loss, and has constant nightmares of the shooting.

Looking at her estranged husband, Lisa said, ?If you had been a better husband and spent more time with your family, there might not have been an affair. I may not have been a perfect wife, but, then again, you weren't much of a husband or father.?

Lisa Hari said that, if David Hari were ever let out of prison, she would spend the rest of her life looking over her shoulder for him to finish killing her.

David Hari's mother, Carol Hari of Roberts, said she didn't believe her son would be a threat to society.

?I believe David is very, very sorry,? she said. ?I do not believe he would do this again if he got out of prison.?

Carol Hari hugged her son for a few minutes before sheriff's deputies led him away to jail.

Sections (2):News, Local
Categories (2):News, Other
Location (3):Local, Paxton, Ford County

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