Defendant's statements allowed in Wheeling murder trial
A Cook County judge on Friday ruled jurors can hear statements an Arlington Heights teenager made to police after the 2013 slaying of a Wheeling man.
Jesus E. Sanchez, 18, is set to go on trial in November on charges of first-degree murder in the May 1, 2013, death of 23-year-old Rafael Orozco, who was shot while walking his dog in the 400 block of Pleasant Run Drive in Wheeling. Authorities say Sanchez fired four to six shots at a 15-year-old rival gang member, missed him and instead hit Orozco in the back.
Also charged with first-degree murder is 20-year-old Collin Scheffler, of Prospect Heights, who authorities say drove the getaway car. Scheffler's bench trial before Judge Thomas Fecarotta begins Monday in Rolling Meadows.
Fecarotta disagreed with Cook County Assistant Public Defender Julie Koehler, who argued detectives coerced Sanchez into making incriminating statements by misrepresenting evidence from a gunshot residue test, intimidating him, wearing him down and not properly reading him his rights.
"Jesus does not give a knowing and intelligent waiver of his rights," she said.
Koehler argued that while authorities said they brought Sanchez to the Wheeling Police Department as a witness, and not as a suspect, he did not feel free to leave because he believed he was under arrest during his interviews with police.
Sanchez was not a suspect initially, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Mike Gerber. He became a suspect after the results of the gunshot residue test on his hands came back positive, Gerber said. It was at that point that police read him his Miranda rights and began recording their conversations as required by law, Gerber said.
Having viewed the video, "it doesn't seem the defendant is under any coercion at all. Every chance he gets he lays down and tries to sleep," Fecarotta said.
Sanchez's trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 3.