Vernon Hills man claims police entrapped him into hiring hitman
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A Vernon Hills man accused of hiring who he thought was a hitman to kill the mother of a woman he injured is asking for the charges against him to be dropped because he claims he was entrapped by police.
Jonathan Villasana, 24, of the 0-100 block of Timber Lane, remains in Lake County jail on $1 million bond while facing charges of solicitation of murder and solicitation of murder for hire.
If found guilty of the most serious charge, he could be sentenced up to 40 years in prison, said Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Dan Kleinhubert.
Aside from claiming Villasana was entrapped by the police investigation, defense attorney Gabe Conroe said both sides are negotiating a potential plea deal. Neither side would discuss the possible deal, but Conroe said the entrapment defense stems from police calling his client to set up a meeting during the investigation.
Villasana was arrested on the solicitation charges at the Lake County courthouse in May after he was sentenced to 90 days in jail following a reckless driving conviction stemming from a 2012 motorcycle crash. In that crash, Villasana was driving a motorcycle at a high speed with a woman on back when he lost control and hit a chain-link fence along Greenleaf Drive in Vernon Hills. The crash seriously injured his passenger, authorities said.
After being found guilty of reckless driving for the crash, authorities say, Villasana asked a friend to find someone to kill the mother of his passenger. That unidentified friend went to police instead, authorities said.
An undercover officer met with Villasana on two occasions. Following the second meeting, Villasana agreed to pay the officer $5,000 to kill the mother, officials said.
A trial was scheduled to take place Dec. 13, but it was pushed back to Feb. 7 to give both sides time to negotiate a plea deal and review the entrapment defense. Villasana is due back in court on Jan. 7.
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