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updated: 7/30/2014 6:33 PM

Round Lake gang member sentenced to 38 years in Zion murder

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  • Jose Rebollar

    Jose Rebollar


A Round Lake gang member convicted in May of being responsible for the 2012 murder of a Zion teen outside a minimart was sentenced Wednesday to 38 years in prison.

Jose Rebollar, 26, of the 500 block of Carol Lane, will not be eligible for parole until he serves 100 percent of the sentence handed down by Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes.

The sentence is nearly a quarter-century less than the 62-year prison term co-defendant Jose Garcia, 18, of Mundelein, received for shooting and killing Gabriel Gonzalez, 18, outside the One Stop Food and Liquor Store on the 1000 block of Fairfield Road in Round Lake Beach.

"I think 38 years is more than appropriate for (Rebollar)," Assistant State's Attorney Reggie Mathews said after the sentencing. "If it wasn't for him, Gabriel Gonzalez would still be alive today."

Rebollar was eligible to be sentenced to 75 years in prison after a Lake County jury convicted him on three counts of first-degree murder for Gonzalez's death.

Authorities said Gonzalez was making a purchase at the front counter of the minimart when Rebollar confronted him because of the way he was wearing a baseball hat.

Rebollar and Garcia flashed gang signs at Gonzalez, but authorities said the Zion teen left the store because he was avoiding a confrontation and wasn't a gang member.

Garcia and Rebollar -- who is also named in court documents as Rebollar-Vergara or Vergara-Rebollar -- followed Gonzalez to the parking lot where the argument continued, authorities said. Garcia drew a concealed handgun and fired 10 shots, with one bullet hitting Gonzalez in the back and killing him, authorities said.

Prosecutors proved at the May trial that Rebollar should be held accountable for the murder because Garcia was providing him with "security" at the minimart.

Defense attorney Robert Ritacca spent 90 minutes before the sentencing arguing that Rebollar deserved a new trial. He said Gonzalez and Garcia had previous high school animosity with each other, and that was at the root of the shooting.

"Bottom line is that he's innocent," Ritacca argued. "He didn't do anything that should have him be here."

But Shanes determined Garcia's motive for shooting Gonzalez was ultimately irrelevant to Rebollar's case.

"Mr. Rebollar was tried under an accountability theory," Shanes explained. "It was never whether Garcia was the shooter, but whether Mr. Rebollar was responsible for Garcia, who was the shooter."

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