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Investigators describe 1994 murder scene at trial

Crime scene investigators took the stand Wednesday morning in the murder trial of Hezekiah Whitfield, describing graphic evidence of the murder scene inside a Waukegan store where business owner Fred Reckling was bludgeoned to death during a robbery the night of Dec. 8, 1994.

No plea deal for man accused in shooting death


Any chance for a last-minute plea deal appeared to close Wednesday for Round Lake Park resident Jose Rebollar-Vergara, who is scheduled to go on trial Monday for the shooting death of Gabriel Gonazalez, 19, of Zion.

Dog-killer sentenced to 3 1/2 years for ‘horrific crime’


Following an emotional hearing on Martin Keller’s anger-fueled killing of a dog in Lake Villa, the Kenosha, Wis., man was sentenced to three and a half years in prison Tuesday for animal torture under a plea deal accepted by a Lake County Circuit Court judge.

Judge refuses plea deal in case of sex abuse of a minor


A Lake County Circuit Court judge refused to approve a plea deal presented Tuesday for a 75-year-old Lake Villa man charged with the aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a minor.

Prosecutors claim DNA samples tie man to murder


DNA samples of blood taken from Fred Reckling’s stolen Lincoln Town Car match the Chicago man charged with the Waukegan business owner’s murder, a prosecutor told jurors Tuesday as the trial of Hezekiah Whitfield got underway.

Man sentenced to 30 months probation for sex assault


A former North Chicago man charged with sexually assaulting two students at Lake Forest High School, where he worked with drama students, was sentenced to 30 months of felony probation under a plea deal approved Tuesday.

Crime Stoppers seek fugitive accused of burglary


Lake County Crime Stoppers and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office/Warrants Division are seeking the public’s help in learning the whereabouts of Tarquin C. Saunders.

Police Beat

Jon Kickel, 26, 286 Anita Ave., Apt. 207, was charged with retail theft from Walmart and referred to adjudication court.

Two teens arrested for murder of 15-year-old in North Chicago


Two North Chicago 18-year-olds are each charged with first-degree murder and are being held in Lake County Jail on $5 million bond in connection with the shooting death of a 15-year-old last week.

Trial begins for 1994 murder of business owner


Jury selection was underway Monday in the murder trial of 43-year-old Chicago resident Hezekiah Whitfield, charged with the 1994 killing of Waukegan business owner Fred Reckling.

Jury won’t see crime scene of Round Lake Beach murder


A judge denied a defense motion Monday to allow the jury in the upcoming murder trial of Jose Rebollar-Vergara to visit the Round Lake Beach crime scene where the murder occurred.

Plea deal in the works for ex-teacher charged with sex abuse


Negotiations to iron out a plea deal for Amber Kraus, a former Grant High School teacher accused of sexually abusing a student in her home, appear to be moving forward.

Trial begins Monday for man charged in 1994 murder


The trial of a man charged with killing Waukegan business owner Fred Reckling 20 years ago is set to begin Monday, marking the second time prosecutors will try to find justice for Reckling and his family.

Ex-cop may have had permit to carry weapon into golf event

Felony charges against a man arrested for attempting to bring a gun into a golf championship in Lake Forest could be dropped if his attorney can prove claims that he had a permit to carry a gun as a former officer.

Gurnee man charged with sexually assaulting girls for years


The owner of a Gurnee business is behind bars on a $500,000 bond after he was charged with sexually assaulting two girls over a period of 20 years.

Juvenile shot, killed in North Chicago alley

North Chicago police are reporting that a juvenile was shot and killed in an alley Wednesday night.