Metro Enforcement Security guard pleads not guilty to new charges in fatal shooting

Kristen Zambo Staff writer @kristenzambo

ROCKFORD — One of two Metro Enforcement security guards accused of fatally shooting a man while on duty at a Rockford apartment complex pleaded not guilty Friday to a new round of charges after the prior case had last month been tossed out of court. Alijon H. Khalil, 30, and Ryan B.

Mattingly, 28, both of Rockford, are charged in the April 16, 2016, shooting death of Valentia Jovan Fresco, 34, of Rockford. Mattingly’s defense attorney, Christopher DeRango, entered not guilty pleas to all 27 charges in the new indictment during Mattingly’s arraignment Friday. It marked the second time he has been arraigned for this shooting.

“It’s virtually identical (to the former charges),” DeRango said after the arraignment. “I don’t see a single meaningful difference.” Mattingly is charged with 27 counts of first-degree murder, aggravated battery, mob action and unlawful restraint. Last year, Mattingly’s and Khalil’s defense attorneys successfully argued that a detective and prosecutor presented “inaccurate, misleading and improper legal conclusions” to the grand jury.

Judge John Lowry agreed during last month’s hearing, saying “the incorrect presentation of the law to the grand jury” prevented Khalil and Mattingly from receiving their right to due process. He dismissed the case. Khalil’s defense attorney wrote in a motion to dismiss the charges that Rockford police detective Brad Shelton testified falsely before the grand jury that the security guards had no authority to detain or arrest people and that Winnebago County Deputy State’s Attorney James Brun — who presented the case to the grand jury and was questioning Shelton — did not correct him.

In dismissing the original cases, Lowry noted that Brun didn’t “intentionally mislead the grand jury.” After Mattingly’s arraignment, DeRango said the prior grand jury process “was defective.” This time, “the theory is the process was done correctly. If the system is working properly, they’ve done that.”

Defense attorneys for both men have asked for transcripts of the new grand jury proceedings “to see if it was done correctly this time.” Brun left the courtroom without comment. Khalil and Mattingly remain on administrative leave from Metro Enforcement, which is a private security firm.

Khalil on Dec.

14 pleaded not guilty to 15 new charges of first-degree murder, aggravated battery, mob action and unlawful restraint. Lowry set their next court date for March 2. Both men remain free on bond.

Fresco allegedly didn’t show his identification when asked to by the security guards as they were patrolling the Auburn Manor apartment complex. Fresco had been at a party there to celebrate his birthday with friends. The guards attempted to stop Fresco when he fled and an altercation ensued away from the property.

Kristen Zambo: 815-987-1339; kzambo@rrstar.com; @KristenZambo


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