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updated: 7/21/2011 4:15 PM

Elgin backpack murder suspect wants statements tossed

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The defense attorney for Christopher Peralta, one of two accused in the spring 2010 stabbing death of an Elgin teen over a backpack, wants to have his statements to police thrown out of court.

Peralta, 17, of the 200 block of North Crystal Street, Elgin, is accused of murder and armed robbery in the death of Edgar Guerra-Guzman in May 2010.

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The 16-year-old Larkin High School student was stabbed in the heart after he and his brother fought two others who tried to steal his backpack at a park on the city's near west side.

Kane County Assistant Public Defender Jennie Amato wants to have Peralta's statements to Elgin police thrown out. She argues that Peralta was 16 at the time, that neither his mother nor father was present for his questioning, and police tried to trick Peralta by saying they talked to his dad, who said it was OK for him to be questioned alone. Peralta said he hadn't spoken to his father in months.

The motion also states that Peralta's mother was called by police, but by the time she got to the station, the interview was over.

"(Peralta) was read his Miranda Rights by the detectives, but he refused to sign the waiver of rights form. The detectives used tactics that created a coercive environment," the motion argues. "Any relinquishment of these rights was not the free choice of the defendant and was not made voluntarily, knowingly or intelligently."

Peralta is due in court again Sept. 8 at which time Judge Timothy Sheldon will set a hearing date.

A jury in February convicted Peralta's co-defendant, Joshua Dunbar, 20, of murder and Sheldon sentenced to him to 25 years in prison.

During Dunbar's trial, prosecutors played a videotaped interview with Elgin police in which Dunbar said he "didn't mean to stab" the victim.

No trial date has been set for Peralta. If convicted, he faces 20 to 60 years in prison.

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