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updated: 8/6/2013 2:34 PM

Attorney raises questions about triggerman in slaying

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  • Jose Rebollar-Vergara

    Jose Rebollar-Vergara

  • Jose Garcia

    Jose Garcia


A defense attorney for one of two suspects in the murder of a 19-year-old Zion man is questioning whether prosecutors are blaming the wrong gang member for pulling the trigger.

Attorney James Schwarzbach said a video of the murder shows that his client, Jose Garcia, 19, of the 600 block of Deepwoods Drive in Mundelein, may not have fired the gun that killed Gabriel Gonzalez of Zion, as authorities have said. The murder occurred in the parking lot of the One Stop Food and Liquor Store in Round Lake Beach on March 10.

Instead, Schwarzbach said, he believes the store security video shows the second suspect, Jose Rebollar-Vergara, 25, of the 500 block of North Carol Lane in Round Lake Park, shooting Gonzalez.

Schwarzbach also filed motions in front of Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes that claim police used illegal techniques to get Garcia to confess to the murder during questioning after the shooting.

Garcia's police questioning and confession were captured on a second video that Schwarzbach is trying to keep out of evidence. That video -- and the store security video -- will be played during an Oct. 8 court hearing.

Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Reginald Mathews disagreed with Schwarzbach after the hearing Tuesday and asserted Garcia is the triggerman. However, he added, there is a minor glitch in the security video that could cause confusion for some people.

"We'll show the tape in court and sort it all out," Mathews said.

According to police, Garcia and Rebollar-Vergara wrongly assumed Gonzales was in a gang and wearing his hat incorrectly when Gonzales entered the Round Lake Beach store.

The pair confronted Gonzalez, authorities said, but he refused to readjust his hat and pushed past them into the parking lot and tried to leave the store.

Garcia and Rebollar-Vergara followed Gonzales into the parking lot, authorities said, one of them pulled out a .22-caliber handgun and fired 10 shots at Gonzales. One bullet hit Gonzales in the back and pierced his aorta, killing him.

Schwarzbach said the video evidence shows Rebollar-Vergara pulled out the weapon and fired at Gonzales. Mathews and defense attorneys for Rebollar-Vergara say Garcia fired the gun.

Both men have confessed to the shooting, authorities said, and remain in jail on $3 million bail.

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