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Former Lake County Store Clerk Testifies At Check ’n Go Murder Trial

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WAUKEGAN, Ill. (STMW) – A former clerk from Ma & Pa’s Corner Store in Beach Park gave dramatic testimony Wednesday that Montago Suggs, currently on trial for the shooting death of a Waukegan store clerk, pointed a gun at his head and tried to shoot him but the gun did not fire.

“I kept looking back at him. Then when I went back to the floor, I heard a click,” the clerk said before a jury in the first-degree murder trial of Suggs, 29, of Kenosha. “That’s when I realized he had actually pulled the trigger to shoot me. He was looking at the gun, surprised it didn’t work.”

Earlier he had testified Suggs entered the store, asked for a manager and then pulled a gun, placed it against his head and said ‘don’t try anything. I have a bullet. I will shoot you.’”

“I felt the steel,” he said. “It made me feel if I valued my life I should cooperate.”

The events described by the clerk allegedly occurred May 26, 2007, less than a week after Suggs allegedly shot Melinda “Mindy” Morrell, 22, of Round Lake Park, a clerk at the former Waukegan Check ’n Go. Prosecutors said Suggs made Morrell lie on her stomach in the back of that store and shot her in the head during a May 21, 2007, robbery in which about $2,000 was taken.

The clerk from Ma & Pa’s Corner Store, who identified Suggs sitting at the defense table in the courtroom Wednesday, Sept. 25, said he got up after the gun didn’t fire and tried to cover himself and that Suggs ran from the store. At that point, the clerk said, he and a customer who had also been forced to lie on the floor saw a Lincoln Town Car pull out of the lot quickly onto Green Bay Road and then head east on Yorkhouse Road. The customer saw the car’s license plate, he said.

The clerk said he notified police using the store’s panic button and that he and the customer then went outside and he saw the black handgun that Suggs had held to his head lying on the pavement next to where the Town Car had been parked.

Sheriff’s deputies soon told the clerk that a suspect had been taken into custody in Kenosha and asked him to go with them to identify whether the suspect was the man who had attempted to shoot him. The clerk testified that they brought him to a squad car where a man was handcuffed in the back seat and that he identified the man as Suggs.

Prosecutors also entered into evidence a statement from the Wisconsin Keeper of Records that a green Lincoln Town Car was registered to Suggs between May 21 and June 7.

Suggs is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and attempted robbery. His trial in Lake County Circuit Court began Tuesday and continues this week.

In opening arguments Tuesday, prosecutors said Suggs is a cold-blooded killer who shot Morrell for money to get his green Town Car out of an impound lot.

Defense attorneys claim Suggs’ confession was coerced after days of interrogation by the Lake County Major Crime Task Force and that no solid evidence links him to Morrell’s murder.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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