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Man enters open guilty plea to 2010 murder of cab driver

Darryel J. Garner

Darryel J. Garner

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Updated: March 6, 2014 6:39AM

Telling a Lake County judge that “it’s the right thing to do,” a Waukegan man entered an open guilty plea to the 2010 killing of a Park City taxi driver, virtually ensuring that he will spend most or the rest of his life in prison.

Darryell Garner, 42, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of first-degree murder in the death of Patrick Foster, 44, and faces a mandatory minimum of 45 years to life in prison under state statute.

After hearing details of the crime and stipulations made by Garner and his defense attorneys, Judge James Booras accepted the guilty plea and scheduled a sentencing hearing for March 25.

After the plea Tuesday morning, Garner’s defense attorneys Keith Grant and Eric Rinehart acknowledged that the move was unusual because Booras will have no discretion to sentence Garner to less than 45 years.

“He has accepted responsibility from the start (when he confessed to Zion police),” Grant said. “He has since gone through a crisis of faith and feels that he needed to do the right thing.”

Garner’s trial in the murder had been scheduled to begin this Friday or next Monday.

The case had attracted special attention because Foster managed to subdue Garner until Zion police arrived at the scene, and then clung to life for more than two weeks before his death.

In his confession, Garner said he had been depressed and drinking and admitted that he called a cab and shot Foster, the responding driver, several times intending to rob him. The shooting occurred March 13, 2010, on the 3100 block of Lebanon Avenue in Zion.

Garner was charged with murder after Foster died at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Milwaukee, on May 10, 2010, of complications resulting from five gunshot wounds.

When police arrived to the scene of the shooting, Garner was being held down on a driveway by Foster, and both men were covered in blood.

Authorities and friends of Foster’s family said at the time that it was amazing Foster had been able to hold Garner on the ground until police arrived after being shot five times, with bullet wounds to his neck, back and jaw. He also called his wife twice after being shot and before being transported to the hospital.

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