Two of three men charged with the murder of a 42-year-old Waukegan man pleaded not guilty in Lake County court early Tuesday.
Anthony Brito, 19, of the 2100 block of Grove Avenue in Waukegan, and Armando Sanders, 18, of the 1700 block of North McAree Road, Waukegan, each face eight counts of first-degree murder in the Dec. 13 death of Randy Hardy.
Brito, who police say was the triggerman in the shooting, faces life in prison if found guilty of the charges, Lake County Judge Christopher Stride said, while Sanders could be sentenced to 75 years behind bars if convicted.
A third suspect -- Steven Gee, 21, of the 1700 block of North McAree Road in Waukegan -- also faces 75 years behind bars but isn't due to appear in court for an arraignment hearing until Thursday.
All three are held in Lake County jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
Brito and Sanders had no reaction when the charges against them were read in court. However, Brito did tell Stride he suffers from schizophrenia and has been taking medication to control it.
By court order, all three are kept in separate locations in the jail and may not communicate behind bars.
Six of Hardy's family members in attendance Tuesday declined to comment following the hearing.
Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Ari Fisz said Gee, Brito and Sanders arranged a drug deal with Hardy at Hardy's apartment complex in the 1600 block of Berwick Boulevard on Dec. 13.
While Gee waited outside the apartment and served as lookout, Brito and Sanders knocked on Hardy's door, then pulled handguns on him when the victim answered, Fisz said.
Hardy started to fight with Brito over the gun, Fisz said, but after one shot was fired into the ceiling, Hardy was shot by Brito in the hallway of the apartment complex. Hardy was shot three more times -- in the chest, head and torso -- before all three suspects fled the complex.
Authorities said several apartment complex residents heard the gunshots and called Waukegan police. Officers arrested Brito, Gee, and Sanders in a park near Clearbrook Elementary School.