March 13, 2009
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, ) Appeal from the
) Circuit Court of
Plaintiff-Appellee, ) Cook County.
v. ) No. 05 CR 14415
NICOLE HARRIS, ) The Honorable
) Lon William Shultz,
Defendant-Appellant. ) Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE TOOMIN delivered the opinion of the court:
Following a jury trial, defendant Nicole Harris was found guilty of first degree murder of
her four-year-old son and sentenced to a term of 30 years’ imprisonment. On appeal, she asserts
that: (1) the trial court erred in denying her motion to suppress statements; (2) the court abused
its discretion in finding a key defense witness incompetent to testify; (3) in the absence of proof
of the corpus delicti, the evidence was insufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; and
(4) she was denied effective assistance of counsel. For the following reasons, we affirm.
The instant prosecution stemmed from the strangulation of defendant’s four-year-old son,
Jaquari Dancy. In the afternoon of May 14, 2005, his father, Sta-Von Dancy, discovered
Jaquari’s lifeless body on the floor of his bedroom. An elastic cord or band dangling from a
fitted sheet on the top bunk was wrapped repeatedly around Jaquari’s neck. Sta-Von unwrapped
the band and began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. When Jaquari failed to respond, Sta-Von
picked him up and ran outside. He encountered defendant, who had returned from the