September 29, 2007
North Chicago, Illinois
Lake County News-Sun
Pair indicted in cabbie death
Face sentences of 20 years to life
October 25, 2007
By ART PETERSON firstname.lastname@example.org
Two North Chicago men were indicted Wednesday by a Lake County grand jury on 15 charges of first-degree murder, for allegedly fatally beating a Waukegan cab driver.
Amittie Brown, 20, and Michael Vargas, 47, face a variety of murder charges. If convicted, they would face a sentence ranging from 20 years to life in prison.
Joseph Burrell, 66, died more than a week after he was found badly beaten in a North Chicago field. Brown and Vargas are facing extended murder charges because Burrell was more than 60 years old, and because his death is alleged to have been caused in a brutal and heinous manner.
Stephen Scheller, chief of the felony review division in the state's attorney's office, said Brown allegedly beat Burrell with a handgun while Vargas acted as a lookout, and then both men cleaned the scene and dragged Burell to a nearby field.
Brown and Vargas were initially charged with attempted murder and armed violence before Burrell died.
Burrell had been found unconscious but breathing in the 2400 block of Martin Luther King Drive on the morning of Sept. 30.
Burrell had been in his second day of work for a cab company in North Chicago. His supervisor said Burrell had dropped off a group of sailors at Gurnee Mills earlier in the evening, and then told dispatchers he'd be stopping somewhere in North Chicago before returning to work.
Burrell went to a home near the field, where he got into an argument with Brown and Vargas, according to police.
His cab was found abandoned on 22nd Street.
Accused assailant Amittie Brown
Accused assailant Michael Vargas
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