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Deja vu in Kane attempt murder by SUV case
It was déjà vu all over again in the courtroom of Kane County Judge David Akemann.

For the second time in a month, a jury acquitted a defendant of an attempted murder charge alleging he used an SUV to try and kill someone, but issued guilty verdicts for less serious charges.

Last week, a jury acquitted a 23-year-old Elgin man of attempted murder stemming from an April 23, 2011 car vs. pedestrian crash in which a Rosemont man was struck by an SUV near Prospect and Seneca Streets in Elgin and thrown 40 feet into the air.

Jurors instead found Francisco Suarez, of the 400 block of Ann Street, guilty of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated battery causing great bodily harm.

Prosecutors argued that Suarez purposely drove his mother’s 1996 Chevy Tahoe backward down a street, up a curb and over a grassy area to strike the victim, who sustained a broken right leg. The SUV later was found hidden behind Suarez’s mother’s home. Police said the victim was in a rival gang.

“That SUV that was used that day was used as a weapon. It was used as a missile. It had a target,” Assistant State’s Attorney Deb Bree argued.

Defense attorney Kathleen Colton argued that what happened was nothing more than a car vs. pedestrian accident, and that even if prosecutors could prove Suarez was the driver, they fell short of proving Suarez intended to kill someone.

She asked if Suarez really planned to kill someone, why would he do it at 4:30 p.m. when plenty of witnesses were around?

“What evidence has the state given you as to why?” Colton said to the jury. “This case is like a piece of Swiss cheese. It’s full of holes.”

Suarez faces a three to seven years in prison when sentenced Dec. 7, but probation also is an option. If convicted of attempted murder, Suarez would have faced a six- to 30-year sentence without the possibility of probation.

The Suarez verdict comes about a month after a jury found an Elk Grove Village man not guilty of the attempted murder of a police officer in the summer of 2009.

Andrzej Wojtkielewicz, 23, of the 800 block of Tennessee Lane, instead was convicted on a second charge of aggravated battery of a police officer.

During a weeklong trial that ended Sept. 20, prosecutors argued that after leading Chicago police on a chase topping 100 mph along Interstate 90 while tossing bags of cocaine out his Mercedes SUV window, Wojtkielewicz tried to run over and kill a police officer at the Elgin toll plaza.

Wojtkielewicz will be sentenced by Akemann on Nov. 22 and could get up to 14 years in prison for an extended term because of a previous drug conviction.

He faced up to 80 years in prison if convicted of attempted murder of a police officer and aggravated battery.