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updated: 11/27/2013 2:05 PM

Man charged in Round Lake Beach slaying could get plea deal

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  • Jose Rebollar-Vergara

      Jose Rebollar-Vergara

 
 

A Round Lake Park man will decide during the next month whether to accept a plea agreement and testify that a fellow gang member killed a Zion man outside of a liquor store in March.

Jose Rebollar-Vergara, 25, faces three counts of first-degree murder and remains held in Lake County jail on $3 million bail in the death of Gabriel Gonzalez, 19, outside of the One Stop Food and Liquor Store in the 1000 block of Fairfield Road in Round Lake Beach.

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However, prosecutors have long said Rebollar-Vergara's fellow gang member -- Jose Garcia, 18, of the 600 block of Deepwoods Drive in Mundelein -- was the triggerman in the shooting at 12:40 a.m. on March 10.

On Wednesday, Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Reginald Mathews offered Rebollar-Vergara a plea deal in front of Judge Daniel Shanes in exchange for truthful testimony against Garcia. Garcia faces three counts of first-degree murder and is held on $3 million bail in Lake County jail.

Mathews and defense attorney Gabe Conroe refused to discuss specific details of the plea agreement, including what Rebollar-Vergara would get in exchange for the testimony.

Shanes told Rebollar-Vergara to return to court Jan. 2 with a decision. Rebollar-Vergara is scheduled to go to trial for the shooting March 10, while Garcia is due to go to trial Feb. 3.

Authorities say Rebollar-Vergara and Garcia confronted Gonzalez inside the liquor store and wrongly assumed the Zion teen was a gang member.

After words were exchanged, Gonzalez pushed past the two men and into the parking lot, but he was followed and again confronted by Rebollar-Vergara and Garcia, authorities said.

While Rebollar-Vergara and Gonzalez exchanged words, one of the defendants pulled out a .22-caliber handgun and fired several shots at Gonzalez, authorities said. One bullet hit Gonzalez in the back and pierced his aorta, killing him.

Mathews and Conroe have said Garcia is seen on video evidence firing the weapon, but the attorney for Garcia said the security video is unclear due to a glitch in the recording process.

If Rebollar-Vergara rejects the plea agreement, he could be sentenced up to 75 years in prison if he is convicted.

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