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updated: 2/9/2011 9:56 PM

Elgin murder suspect says he didn't mean to stab victim

Elgin teen on trial for 2010 murder

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  • Joshua Dunbar

    Joshua Dunbar


Shortly after midnight on May 22, 2010, Joshua Dunbar thought he was going to buy cigarettes with a friend who was under 18.

A short time later, he was back at his cousin's house in Elgin, vomiting in reaction to stabbing another teen during a fight over a backpack.

"I didn't mean to stab him. I just pulled (the knife) out and was like get the (heck) back," Dunbar told detectives in a videotaped confession two days later. "I pulled it out and he was too close."

Dunbar, 19, of the 600 block of Margaret Place, Elgin, is on trial for the murder of 16-year-old Larkin High School sophomore Edgar Guerra-Guzman, who died of a single stab wound to his chest that pierced his heart.

Earlier this week, Oscar Guerra-Guzman testified that he and his younger brother had left a party to meet his brother's girlfriend and another girl near the skate park at Jackson Street and Lawrence Avenue.

Dunbar, in the videotaped interview with police, said he and "a guy named Chris" went to go buy cigarettes when his companion pulled down a ski mask and tried to rob Guerra-Guzman of his backpack, which contained books and a few beers.

A fight ensued and Guerra-Guzman was stabbed and killed.

Christopher Peralta, 17, of the 200 block of Crystal Street, Elgin, also faces murder charges, along with armed robbery and robbery. He is due in court on March 24.

Dunbar, who was not in the courtroom earlier in the day because he wasn't feeling well, bowed his head and rocked back and forth in his chair while the hour-and-a-half Elgin police interview tape was played.

He did not testify during the three-day trial, which wrapped up Wednesday before Judge Timothy Sheldon.

Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Greg Sams said aside from Dunbar's videotaped interview, the most convincing evidence came from a neighbor who heard the fight and saw Dunbar on top of the victim.

"The defendant committed the crime, he fled the scene and when he talked to police, he repeatedly lied about it. It's time for him to pay," Sams said.

Defense attorney John Paul Carroll portrayed Dunbar, a ninth-grade dropout who admitted to police he could barely read and write, as "slow" and "easily manipulated" by police. Carroll questioned why authorities didn't have the knife and blood at the scene tested for Dunbar's DNA and argued that Dunbar was trying to break up the fight and defending himself.

"This is not a murder," Carroll told the jury, which deliberated about three hours Wednesday and will resume today. "It's just another tragedy in this world. Not every tragedy is a crime."

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