An appeals court has reversed a Round Lake Beach man’s conviction in the Volo killing of a 17-year-old boy, who was in the man’s stolen car, after the jury used the prosecution’s notes to help reach their verdict.
Lynell P. Glover, 38, of Round Lake Beach, was convicted in late March 2022 of second-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm.
The man’s attorneys had filed a motion for mistrial while the jury was deliberating due to a note the jury sent to the judge.
The note stated that the jury had a copy of the prosecution’s PowerPoint, which had been played during closing arguments, and a deputy removed the disc, saying the jury was not supposed to have it.
The PowerPoint had personal notes from the prosecution that was not admitted as evidence.
The jury said in their note that “many people” formed thoughts after viewing it during their deliberations.
“Why were we given evidence or information that we should not have seen or used? This is a problem for some of us. We used the PowerPoint extensively,” the note to the judge said.
Lake County Judge Mark Levitt responded to the jury saying that he reviewed the presentation and the personal notes included on it were argued during closing arguments.
“I remind you that closing arguments are not evidence and anything that attorneys say to you should be based on the evidence and reasonable inference to be drawn from the evidence. Any argument not based on the evidence should be disregarded. Please continue to deliberate,” Levitt said in his note back to the jury.
Levitt denied the defense’s motion for a mistrial.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Steve Scheller said during a January 2021 bond hearing that Glover’s vehicle was reported stolen on December 30, 2020, from his Round Lake Beach residence.
Glover found out his vehicle was near the Speedway gas station at Route 12 and Route 120 in Volo around 2:40 a.m. on January 3, 2021.
He followed the vehicle southbound on Route 12 when the stolen vehicle, which was occupied by two 17-year-old boys from Carol Stream, ran out of gas, police said.
The stolen car pulled into a parking lot near the Platinum Autobody, 31223 North Route 12, and an altercation ensued, Scheller said.
Glover called 911 and dispatchers could hear him yelling in the background, “Get on the f***ing ground or I’ll shoot you.”
Scheller said that Glover allegedly chased the two teens and shot them as they were running.
Officers arrived and found both of the teens with gunshot wounds. One of them, identified as Anthony Awad, sustained three gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The other teen sustained one gunshot wound to his leg and was transported to an area hospital.
Police recovered a Ruger 9mm pistol in a sewer grate. The gun belonged to Glover’s girlfriend, prosecutors said.
Police also recovered shell casings in the middle of the Route 12 median between the southbound and northbound lanes.
Glover sustained minor non-gunshot injuries from the incident and did not need medical treatment, police said.
Glover’s attorneys said during closing arguments at trial that one of the teens had the gun when Glover confronted them and that Glover acted in self-defense when he shot them.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said after the verdict that Glover “started the fight, shot the boys after the altercation, and then hid the gun afterwards.”
“The jury correctly saw that Mr. Glover was wrong to take the law into his own hands,” Rinehart said.
Glover was sentenced to 21 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections in May 2022.
Glover appealed his case to the Illinois Second District Appellate Court after the trial court judge denied a post-trial motion to reconsider his sentence.
The appeals court issued a ruling last week, siding with Glover that the trial court judge should have granted the motion for a mistrial due to the jury having the prosecution’s PowerPoint when deliberating.
“As such, we cannot agree that the error and resulting prejudice from the improper inclusion of the State’s PowerPoint presentation was ‘harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.’ The jury’s verdict cannot stand because it is far from obvious that no prejudice accrued,” the appeals court said in the ruling.
The court reversed Glover’s conviction and remanded it back to Lake County Circuit Court for further proceedings.