A Kenosha, Wis., man will spend the rest of his life behind bars for a 2007 crime spree that involved the "execution" of a Round Lake Park woman, a Lake County judge ruled Tuesday.
Montego Suggs, now 29, was sentenced by Judge Daniel Shanes to 80 years in prison for killing Melinda Morrell, 22, at a Waukegan Check N' Go on the 1000 block of Green Bay Road on May 21, 2007.
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Suggs was also sentenced to 30 years for attempting to kill a clerk at the Ma and Pa Grocery Store on the 3700 block of Green Bay Road in Beach Park five days later, and 28 years for trying to rob that business.
Shanes ruled the attempted murder and armed robbery at the grocery store could be served concurrently. However, he said both will be served consecutively to the sentence for Morrell's murder. That means Suggs will have to spend at least 105 years in prison with credit for good time.
"We are obviously pleased with the sentence," said prosecutor Eric Kalata, who frequently pointed out during the sentencing hearing that Suggs "executed" Morrell during the Check N' Go robbery in order to avoid being caught.
The sentencing comes after a jury in September found Suggs guilty on three counts of first-degree murder for killing Morrell.
Prosecutors said Suggs was in desperate need of money when he entered the check cashing store and confronted Morrell, who was an employee. After he demanded a key to cash drawers, officials said, Suggs forced Morrell to lie on the floor and shot her execution-style in the back of the head.
Suggs removed the video surveillance tape from the video recorder, stole $2,000 and fled, police said. Morrell's body was discovered later that day.
Authorities said a shell casing and the bullet that killed Morrell were found as evidence at the scene and would be used to tie Suggs to the Beach Park case.
Authorities said Suggs entered the Ma and Pa Grocery Store with the same gun that he used in the Waukegan murder and robbery and confronted the store clerk. He ordered the clerk to lie on the floor behind the counter while he stole cash from the register, then pulled the trigger on the gun aimed at the clerk's head.
However, authorities said, Suggs did not properly load the weapon and the gun never fired.
The store clerk sprang to his feet to confront Suggs after he heard the gun click. Suggs ran out of the building and dropped the gun when he slipped on wet pavement.
Suggs was arrested after trying to hide in a wooded area following a police chase into Wisconsin.
Police said Suggs confessed to the grocery store robbery the day after his arrest, then confessed to the murder four days later.
Suggs claimed his innocence during a one-minute speech at his sentencing hearing, saying he felt bad that Morrell had died, but that he would prove his innocence in the years to follow.
"I am not the person who has done this," Suggs said. "I apologize for their loss. I will spend my time in jail to prove it wasn't me."