Jury acquits man accused of killing, dismembering 2-year-old dumped in lagoon

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CHICAGO — A Cook County jury acquitted a Rockford man accused of killing a 2-year-old boy, dismembering his body and dumping his remains in the Garfield Park Lagoon.

Kamel Harris, 44, was found not guilty on Thursday in the 2015 death of 2-year-old Kyrian Knox.

Investigators said he was implicated by three jailhouse informers and charged with first-degree murder.

Harris took the stand in his own defense Wednesday and said he gave Kyrian to three people in August 2015, who claimed to know the boy's mother.

The toddler's body was found weeks later in the lagoon.

His attorney repeatedly said that there was no forensic evidence tying his client to the crime. Despite no forensic evidence, Harris nearly pleaded guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence — a deal that fell apart.

Jurors found him not guilty after about eight hours of deliberations.

Harris is expected to be released from custody Thursday evening.

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