Confession in Lake Villa home invasion was coerced, defense attorneys say
The defense attorney for a 20-year-old man on trial for invading a Lake Villa home and attacking a resident two years ago said his client confessed to the crime only because he thought that's what police wanted to hear.
Attorneys gave opening statements in Miguel Rico's trial at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan early Tuesday in front of Associate Judge Daniel Shanes.
Rico, formerly of the 1100 block of McKenzie Road in Antioch, is on trial for aggravated home invasion, aggravated kidnapping and armed violence after allegedly invading and robbing at gunpoint the resident of a home in the 800 block of Longwood Drive in Lake Villa in September 2010.
If found guilty, he could up to 60 years behind bars.
Defense attorney Jeff Facklam said Rico was arrested by police about a week after the crime occurred on Sept. 1, but was forced to sit in a police interrogation room without sleep for about 24 hours before finally confessing to the crime.
Facklam said whoever broke into the Lake Villa home wore a mask and the victim did not know the identity of his attacker.
"Everything is not always as it seems," Facklam told the jury. "After being locked in a room alone for almost 24 hours, having no contact with the outside, and after police threatened to arrest his family, he told police what they wanted to hear."
However, Lake County Assistant States Attorney Reginald Matthews told jurors Rico confessed to the crimes in writing and on video, and that stolen merchandise from the Lake Villa home invasion was found under the porch of his Antioch home and at an abandoned home used by Rico to store stolen goods.
"He was in possession of evidence of committing the crime, and confessed in writing and on video of using a gun to hold the occupant of the home at bay," Matthews said. "This case comes down to confession and possession."
Matthews said Rico entered the Lake Villa home through an open garage on Sept. 1, 2010, was in the process of robbing it, when the 20-year-old resident walked in.
Rico pointed a gun at the victim, bound him with duct tape and zip ties in the basement, then fled with the stolen property in the victim's Mitsubishi Eclipse. The car, Matthews said, was later found abandoned and torched a few miles from the residence.
The crime is similar to an attack in Antioch Township that Rico was found guilty of in May, he said.
In that case, Rico entered the home brandishing a knife, bound three residents with duct tape, then loaded the victims' Nissan Altima with stolen items and fled, police said.
Following the Antioch Township invasion, police were alerted on Sept. 8 by someone who recognized the Altima from media reports and saw it parked in front of an abandoned home in Round Lake Beach. Police set up surveillance on the home, Matthews said.
Rico was using the home to store stolen goods from his robberies, Matthews said, and items recovered from the abandoned home and Rico's Antioch home were linked to the robberies in Lake Villa and Antioch Township, Matthews said.
Rico was found guilty in May of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated home invasion and armed violence for the Antioch Township attack. He is serving 30 years in prison.
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