Stolen vehicle evidence to be allowed at 2007 murder trial
By Jim Newton firstname.lastname@example.org September 17, 2013 12:04PM
Updated: October 19, 2013 7:11PM
Evidence that Montago Suggs was driving a stolen car after he allegedly murdered a clerk working at the former Waukegan Check ’n Go will be allowed in his upcoming trial, over the objections of defense attorneys.
A defense motion to exclude portions of an interrogation in which Suggs admits to stealing a car to escape the murder scene, and other statements in which says he has stolen other cars, was denied Monday, Sept. 16, by Lake County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Shanes.
Public Defender Keith Grant had argued that the assertion that the car Suggs was driving after allegedly shooting the victim was stolen would be prejudicial to the jury and is not relevant to the charges against him.
But Shanes said the allegation that Suggs stole the car was part of a “continuing narration” in the case and could, for example, be used to explain how he got away from the scene so quickly.
“The court finds it relevant,” Shanes said.
Suggs, 29, allegedly shot clerk Melinda Morrell, 22, in the back of the head during a May 21, 2007, robbery of the former Waukegan Check ’n Go store on Green Bay Road. About $2,000 was taken in the robbery.
He has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and attempted robbery in the case.
Investigators focused on Suggs after he allegedly tried to shoot a clerk at the Ma & Pa’s Corner Store, 37737 N. Green Bay Road, Beach Park, five days after the Check ’n Go murder.
Police said he forced the store clerk to the ground behind the register, pointing a gun at him and asking, “Do you want to die?”
But the loaded gun did not have a round in the chamber, according to authorities, leading him to flee with no money. He was found hiding in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.
Suggs’ trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 23