Judge dismisses almost half of charges in Marie's Pizza murder - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Judge dismisses almost half of charges in Marie's Pizza murder trial

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

A judge hands down a verdict of not guilty on eight of charges in connection to the Marie's pizza murder but the trial is not over.

This is not the verdict for all the charges, a jury still has to rule on a dozen of them. But Judge Gary Pumilia decided there was not enough evidence to convict of some of the charges.

Lamar Coates is on trial for felony murder. The prosecutors say on October 1, 2011 Coates and three other men went to Marie's Pizza with a gun to rob it. The owner, Vincenso Tarara, struggled with the men over the gun and an off-duty Winnebago County Sheriff's Deputy, who was at the restaurant, got a hold of another gun and shot all the men. He killed 16-year-old Michael Sago.

The state had charged Coates with armed robbery and attempted murder of Sheriff's Deputy Frank Pobjecky. Judge Pumilia ruled there was no proof a robbery actually took place. Judge Pumilia also said just because someone points a gun at another person does not mean they intend to kill them. So he threw out the attempted murder of the sheriff's deputy charge.

Coates still faces charges for attempted armed robbery, attempted murder of Tarara and three counts of felony murder.

The jury is expected to get the case tomorrow. Closing argument will happen first thing Friday morning.

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