Lake Villa man pleads not guilty in Zion murder
A Lake Villa man accused of shooting and killing a man in Zion in May pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of murder in Lake County court Thursday.
However, Jamal Johnson, 30, with a registered address in the 300 block of Berkshire Lane, claimed he didn't understand why he was facing the 12 counts of murder and life in prison for killing Mutassem Abdelaziz, 23, of Waukegan.
"I don't understand none of it," Johnson told Judge Christopher Stride, causing about a dozen of the victim's family and friends to become upset in the courtroom. "I don't understand why I'm here."
Deputies removed one family member for acting out in court, while Stride warned others to control their emotions.
No one would comment following the hearing.
Authorities have charged Johnson with 12 counts of first-degree murder, saying he fired the gun that killed Abdelaziz during a May 23 robbery attempt in the parking lot of Aldi Foods in the 2800 block of Sheridan Road in Zion.
Authorities said Johnson was with Rashee Bell, 22, of the 1400 block of Hervey in North Chicago, and Douglas Alexander, 21, of the 2000 block of Hebron in Zion, when they tried to rob Abdelaziz.
Officers responded to a call of shots fired at 4:34 p.m. and found Abdelaziz slumped over and shot in the head in the front seat of a vehicle.
If found guilty of main four counts of murder, Johnson could be sentenced to up to life in prison, Stride explained. The remaining counts could put Johnson behind bars for up to 75 years.
Johnson became angry when the counts were read to him. He later said he didn't agree with the charges, but he understood them.
Both Bell and Alexander have previously pleaded not guilty to the crime in Lake County court. All three remain held in Lake County jail on $5 million bond.
Johnson is due back in court July 3.
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