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updated: 8/22/2014 6:39 PM

Judge: Statements in Wheeling homicide not coerced

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A Cook County judge will let jurors hear about statements a man made to police about the 2013 fatal shooting of a Wheeling man who was walking his dog.

Cook County Judge Thomas Fecarotta ruled against attorneys for Collin J. Scheffler, 20, who police say drove the getaway car carrying Jesus E. Sanchez, who they say shot Rafael Orozco in the back after mistaking him for a rival gang member.

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Both Sanchez and Scheffler have been charged with first-degree murder in Orozco's death on May 1, 2013.

Defense attorney Ari M. Trubitt said police coerced Scheffler's statement over 11 hours of questioning, during which Wilmette police Sgt. Landon Girard said Scheffler gave "several versions of the story" surrounding the shooting on the 400 block of Pleasant Drive.

"At no time" did he ask for an attorney, said Girard, whose department assisted Wheeling officers.

Girard testified he gave Scheffler his Miranda rights several times. He also testified Scheffler asked several times to call his parents. Police denied that request.

Questioned by Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Mike Gerber, Girard said Scheffler told him he was the getaway driver for a shooting and that he picked Sanchez up after the shooting and drove him away.

Police never told Deborah Scheffler that her son was a suspect or that he was under arrest when they picked him up at the family's home about 11 a.m. the day after the shooting, she testified.

"They just told me he might have witnessed something last night ... and they had to bring him down to the police department for questioning," she said.

William Scheffler testified he and his wife became concerned when Collin didn't return home for dinner and called a lawyer friend. The next time they saw their son was four days later at his bond hearing, he said.

Fecarotta on Friday also granted a defense motion to try Scheffler and Sanchez separately. Scheffler's trial is set for Sept. 8, in Rolling Meadows.

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