First Trial to Begin in Death of Highland Park Man

Philip Vatamaniuc is among three charged in shooting death of Colin Nutter

The first of three young men accused in the 2013 shooting death of a Highland Park man could go to trial Monday.

Philip Vatamaniuc is charged, alongside Benjamin Schenk and Michael Coffee, with first-degree murder. The three men are accused of killing Colin Nutter last summer and then dumping his body near the Edens Expressway in Wilmette.

According to prosecutors, the trio lured Nutter to a secluded stretch of Michigan Avenue in Highwood under the pretense of a marijuana deal.

Prosecutors allege the defendants then stuffed Nutter's body into the trunk of his car and dumped it near the Edens Expressway, where it was discovered by a teen walking her dog. The following day, they allegedly stole a vehicle belonging to one of Nutter's relatives and drove that car and Nutter's car into Chicago. A police surveillance camera recorded them dumping Nutter's car near West Madison Street and South Pulaski Road, officials said.

Vatamaniuc has pleaded not guilty to the charges. A fourth man, Francisco Anthony Martinez, was later charged with obstruction of justice in the case.

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