After three hours of deliberation Thursday, a Cook County jury acquitted a 19-year-old man for fatally shooting a North Side pizzeria manager after mistaking him for a rival gang member.
But Anthony Collazo’s fellow Satan Disciple wasn’t so lucky.
Judge Stanley J. Sacks convicted Gabriel Contreras, 28, for murdering Mount Greenwood native Jason Mueller earlier Thursday.
The Marist High School graduate was taking a woman to her home near Grand Avenue and Wolcott Street on the Near West Side the morning of Aug. 10, 2008, and was trying to hail a cab home when he was shot dead.
Contreras and Collazo had gone out looking to shoot any member of the rival C-Notes gang they thought had wounded Contreras days before, and mistook Mueller for a member of the gang, prosecutors said.
But Collazo, 19, didn’t fit the description of a heavyset man with short hair that an eyewitness gave police, his attorney, Joseph Lopez, told jurors during closing arguments Thursday. He was tall and skinny, his hair was long.
“It doesn’t matter who shot the gun,” Assistant State’s Attorney Eugene Wood told jurors in closing arguments. “These guys were together. They were acting together — they’re both accountable.”
Collazo took his case to a Cook County jury; Contreras opted for a bench trial before Sacks.
|Feb. 20, 2009: Sister-in-law reflects as two men are charged in Jason Mueller's death.|
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