Jury views emotional videotaped confession to murder of store clerk
By Jim Newton email@example.com September 26, 2013 7:22PM
Lake County State's Attorney Ari Fisz discusses evidence during the murder trial of Montago Suggs of Kenosha, Wis. Tuesday at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan. Suggs is accused of murdering Melinda Morrell of Round Lake during a robbery at a check cashing store in Waukegan in 2007. Gilbert R. Boucher IIfirstname.lastname@example.org ORG XMIT: 17203_
Updated: October 28, 2013 7:33AM
After viewing multiple clips of an interrogation that took place over four days, jurors on Thursday saw Montago Suggs emotionally confess to the murder of 22-year-old Melinda “Mindy” Morrell of Round Lake Park.
“F--- it, I did it,” Suggs tells an officer with the Lake County Major Crime Task Force on a videotape taken during questioning May 30, 2007. “I didn’t mean to pull it. I didn’t mean to pull it. It was me holding the gun and reaching the wrong way. I had the gun to her head, reaching for the VCR.”
Suggs, 29, of Kenosha, allegedly shot Morrell in the back of the head during a robbery of the former Check ’n Go on Green Bay Road in Waukegan on the late afternoon of May 21, 2007.
According to police and prosecutors, and details of Suggs’ confession, he walked into the store as Morrell was coming out of the back room, forced her to the floor and asked where the key to the cash drawer was. After he got the key, he took cash from the drawer and took Morrell to the back of the store to get the surveillance tape.
Suggs said he had her lie on the floor again near the VCR containing the tape, and that the gun went off as he was reaching to eject the tape.
“The muzzle went off. At first I didn’t even think it was the gun,” Suggs said on the tape. “I don’t even remember pulling the trigger. I was in shock.”
Over the course of the interrogation, Suggs first admitted to an attempted robbery at the Ma & Pa’s Corner Store on Green Bay Road in Beach Park on May 26, 2007, where he allegedly held a gun to the clerk’s head and pulled the trigger, but the gun did not go off because there was not a bullet in the chamber.
He dropped the gun while fleeing, according to police, and it was determined by ballistic experts that the gun was the same one used to shoot Morrell.
Suggs was informed of this during the interview, as well as police had information that he had paid off loans and gotten his car out of impound shortly after the fatal robbery, although he had said he was broke prior to the shooting.
He confessed after a detective talked about searching his Kenosha home for evidence of the money and interviewing family members.
“I don’t want my family involved in this. I don’t want you in my house,” he said just prior to admitting to the shooting.
Assistant State’s Attorney Ari Fisz told Lake County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Shanes that he anticipated that the state will rest its case on Friday in the first-degree murder trial.
In opening statements, Public Defender Keith Grant said the length of the interrogation led to Suggs’ confession, and that the state will not be able to prove Suggs committed the murder.
Fisz, while showing clips from the interrogation, noted frequent breaks and that no questioning occurred Memorial Day, May 28, 2007.