William Harris III

WILLIAM HARRIS III

URBANA — An employee of the Cunningham Township assessor’s office was charged Tuesday with domestic battery for allegedly hitting his wife.

William Harris III, 30, who listed an address in the 1000 block of St. Andrews Circle, Rantoul, was released from jail on his own recognizance Tuesday after being charged with domestic battery and unlawful interference with reporting domestic violence, both Class A misdemeanors.

In court, Assistant State’s Attorney Kristin Alferink said Harris and his wife had argued much of the day Monday, with him calling her names and repeatedly poking her head with his finger.

One of his jabs was hard enough to cause her to hit her head on something, Alferink said.

Alferink said at one point in their dispute, Harris allegedly grabbed his wife by the neck. When she tried to call 911, he knocked the phone from her hand. Police noted that she had a swollen eye and a scratch on her neck, the prosecutor said.

Harris asked Judge Roger Webber to appoint a public defender for him, but Webber declined to do so, saying it appeared that Williams made enough money in his full-time job as chief deputy assessor for Cunningham Township to be able to hire his own counsel. Webber told Harris to return to court Sept. 17 with a lawyer.

If convicted of the misdemeanor offenses, Harris faces a maximum of 364 days in the county jail.

He was ordered to have no contact with his residence but was allowed to return home once to collect belongings.

mschenk@news-gazette.com