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updated: 8/14/2012 4:58 PM

Gang member gets 8 years for shooting man in West Chicago

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  • Nicholas Toscano

      Nicholas Toscano

 

An admitted gang member was sentenced to eight years in prison Tuesday for shooting a man in the shin last year outside a West Chicago apartment building.

Nicholas Toscano, 23, of Aurora, had pleaded guilty to aggravated discharge of a firearm for the April 6, 2011, shooting on the 1200 block of Kings Circle.

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DuPage County prosecutors said the victim, who is in his 20s, was injured about 9 p.m. as he walked around an apartment building with a man who had warned Toscano a day earlier to stop loitering.

Toscano yelled a gang slogan as he fired from the building's front steps, striking the victim in the shin, Assistant State's Attorney Steve Knight said. The bullet is still lodged in the victim's leg.

"This crime was committed for no other reason than the defendant is a gangbanging showoff," Knight told Judge Kathryn Creswell in seeking a 10-year term.

Defense attorney D.J. Tegeler said Toscano is a licensed pharmacy technician who earned good grades before graduating from Batavia High School several years ago. He argued for a 6-year term with a referral to boot camp, saying its "structured setting" was more likely to rehabilitate his client.

Toscano also apologized for the shooting.

"Given the chance, you won't see me back again," he told the judge.

But Creswell said boot camp would diminish the seriousness of the offense and fall short of deterring others from committing a similar crime. She also took issue with Toscano's criminal record, which includes prior convictions for drug possession and slashing a man in the face with a box cutter at a West Chicago liquor store, as well as parole violations.

"The defendant's history is horrible, and he's only 23 years old," Creswell said.

Toscano pleaded guilty in June in exchange for prosecutors dismissing additional charges and capping their sentencing recommendation at 10 years. By law, he must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence, or a little less than seven years. Had he been convicted of all counts at trial, he would have faced a minimum 21 years.

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