Defense attorneys on Friday asked Cook County Judge Kay Hanlon to bar identification of their client Marko Guardiola by prosecution witnesses on the grounds that Mount Prospect police officers "highlighted" Guardiola in lineups so the witnesses would identify him.
Cook County Assistant Public Defender Kristina Yi argued that her client was unfairly singled out as police worked to identify suspects in the 2010 stabbing death of Jean Wettecamps, 52, in his Mount Prospect apartment.
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Hanlon disagreed, ruling that police procedures did not violate Guardiola's constitutional rights and the witnesses' identification of him will stand.
Guardiola, 40, has several distinctive facial tattoos, including two teardrops under his left eye.
Those tattoos and several others figured prominently in the description witnesses gave of Guardiola, who court records indicate resides in Elk Grove Village, but who authorities say is homeless.Guardiola and co-defendant Edwin Paniagua, 18, of unincorporated Elk Grove Village, met the victim, an American Airlines baggage handler at O'Hare International Airport, at his apartment complex swimming pool.
Family members claim the defendants killed Wettecamps because they believed he had money. Prosecutors have not revealed a motive for the slaying.
Calling the identification of her client "quite questionable," Yi pointed out that one witness identified Guardiola from a single photograph shown to him by detectives.
"To suggest that's not suggestive or leading is an understatement," said Yi. That same witness later identified Guardiola in a physical lineup in which her client was the only individual who wasn't "clean cut," she said.
Yi further claimed that police showed a second witness a photo lineup in which Guardiola's photo was a higher resolution than the others and in which he was the only subject with braided hair and facial tattoos.
Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Mike Clarke said police acted appropriately when they showed the first witness a photo of Guardiola, an acquaintance.
"This was not some random encounter," Clarke said. "This was a guy who spent 11 hours with the defendant, knew him by his nickname and had his phone number."
As for the photo lineup which the second witness viewed, detectives would be hard-pressed to find fill-in subjects with facial tattoos, Clarke said.
"If the defendant wants to present himself with facial tattoos that give him a unique (appearance) that's his choice," Clarke said, pointing out that both witnesses referenced Guardiola's facial tattoos, gender and race when describing him.