A Lake County Circuit Court judge said he will rule this Thursday on several motions filed on behalf of Mundelein resident Jose Garcia, 18, charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 19-year-old Gabriel Gonzalez of Zion outside a Round Lake Beach convenience store.
The motions, filed by defense attorney James Schwarzbach, include a request to suppress Garcia’s videotaped confession based on claims of that investigators used unconstitutional procedures during Garcia’s interrogation.
After hearing final testimony on the issues Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 7, Judge Daniel Shanes said he would further consider the motions, which have been the subject of several lengthy hearings, and issue rulings Thursday afternoon.
In addition to the motion to bar Garcia’s interrogation and confession from his upcoming trial, Schwarzbach is also seeking to suppress evidence from a search of Garcia’s home that he said was not legally conducted.
A separate motion seeks judicial sanctions relating the the handling of a convenience store videotape that depicts the March 10 shooting of Gonzalez.
Schwarzbach has attacked the methods used by investigators during the two days that Garcia was questioned at the Round Lake Beach Police Department, saying that “there were clear coercive police tactics used that crossed the line constitutionally.”
He has been especially critical of statements made by officers during the interrogation claiming that Garcia’s family was in danger of gang retaliation stemming from the shooting, and that if he confessed to his role in the killing, police could “get the word out there that (Garcia) wasn’t putting this on the Latin Kings, that it wasn’t a Latin King-ordered hit.”
Schwarzbach asserts that Garcia was a recruit of the Mundelein Latin Kings, while another defendant in the case belonged to a Chicago faction of the gang, and that police implied that faction would go after Garcia’s parents and siblings if they thought Garcia was deflecting blame for the shooting.
Prosecutors have said Garcia was the shooter in the murder of Gonzalez, during an incident in the parking lot that was recorded by the store’s surveillance camera. Jose Rebollar-Vergara, 24, of Round Lake Park, a second defendant charged with murder in the case, allegedly began an altercation with Gonzalez inside the store.