A video showing the March slaying of a 19-year-old Zion man outside of a Round Lake Beach convenience store was played in a Lake County courtroom Tuesday as defense attorneys tried to have the indictment of one of the suspects dismissed.
In the 45-second video taken from a surveillance camera outside the One Stop Food and Liquor Store, suspect Jose Rebollar-Vergara, 25, confronts victim Gabriel Gonzalez in the store's parking lot mere seconds before the fatal shooting.
Because of the graphic nature of the March 10 shooting, Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes blocked the portion of the video depicting Gonzalez's death from being shown in the courtroom. Instead, he watched the shooting on a personal monitor to protect family members in the audience.
The video was shown as part of a defense motion arguing that police misled the Lake County grand jury that indicted Rebollar-Vergara on three counts of first-degree murder.
They allege police told grand jurors that Rebollar-Vergara flashed gang signs just before the shooting, and that the defendant, an admitted gang member from Round Lake Park, confessed.
However, the video does not show him flashing gang signs, and a video of his police interrogation shows Rebollar-Vergara did not admit to the shooting.
A clip of the police interrogation of co-defendant Jose Garcia, however, shows him admitting to firing the gun that killed Gonzalez.
"Police told the grand jury that our client made a confession, which he did not," said defense attorney Sharmila Manak. "They said he was flashing gang signs, which he did not do."
Rebollar-Vergara, of the 500 block of North Carol Lane, and Garcia, 18, of the 600 block of Deepwoods Drive in Mundelein, each face three counts of first-degree murder in the slaying of Gonzalez. If found guilty, both could be sentenced up to 75 years in prison.
Authorities said Gonzalez entered the liquor store on the 1000 block of Fairfield Road about 12:40 a.m. on March 10 and came into contact with Garcia and Rebollar-Vergara.
Garcia and Rebollar-Vergara wrongly assumed Gonzalez was in a gang and that Gonzalez was wearing his baseball hat incorrectly, authorities said. After they told him to put on his hat the way they wanted, Gonzalez pushed past them and tried to leave, authorities said.
Garcia and Rebollar-Vergara followed Gonzales into the parking lot where the video shows Rebollar-Vergara walking toward Gonzalez. A second later, authorities said, one of the defendants pulled out a .22-caliber handgun and fired 10 shots at Gonzalez. One of the bullets hit Gonzalez in the back and pierced his aorta, killing him.
Officials initially said each of the two men confessed to the shooting but said they did not know Gonzalez was not a gang member. Both remain in jail on $3 million bail.
Shanes will rule on the grand jury motion Sept. 16.