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updated: 8/25/2014 4:56 PM

Judge denies Round Lake gang member's request for less prison in fatal shooting

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  • Jose Rebollar

      Jose Rebollar


A Lake County judge denied a request to reduce the prison time for a gang member convicted in May of being responsible for the 2012 murder of a Zion teen outside a minimart.

Judge Daniel Shanes said Monday the 38-year prison sentence given in July to Jose Rebollar, 26, of the 500 block of Carol Lane, was appropriate because co-defendant Jose Garcia, 19, was working as Rebollar's gang enforcer the night Garcia shot and killed Gabriel Gonzalez, 18.

Shanes was responding to a request from defense attorney Robert Ritacca, who asked during the hearing that Rebollar's prison sentence be reduced. Ritacca argued the sentence was unfair because Rebollar did not fire the gun that killed Gonzalez.

The fatal March 10 encounter began when Gonzalez was making a purchase at the front counter of the One Stop Food and Liquor Store on the 1000 block of Fairfield Road in Round Lake Beach. Rebollar -- also named in court documents as Rebollar-Vergara or Vergara-Rebollar -- confronted him because of the way he was wearing a baseball hat, authorities said.

After the Gonzalez left the store, Rebollar and Garcia followed him outside, authorities said. After more words were exchanged in the parking lot between Rebollar and Gonzalez, Garcia drew a concealed handgun and fired 10 shots, including one that hit Gonzalez in the back and killed him, authorities said.

A jury found Garcia guilty of murder in February, and Shanes later sentenced him to 62 years in prison. Rebollar was found guilty of the murder by a jury after prosecutors proved Garcia was acting as "security" for Rebollar at the minimart, because Rebollar was the higher-ranking gang member.

Shanes said Monday that Rebollar received a prison sentence nearly a quarter-century less than Garcia, who fired the fatal shot.

Ritacca said in court Rebollar plans to appeal the verdict and Shanes' sentence to the state appellate court.

Rebollar was eligible to be sentenced to 75 years in prison.

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