Andrew Salamon was indicted on first degree murder charges on Wednesday in the brutal early morning pipe beating death of a Northcenter tavern owner two years ago.
Appearing briefly to arrange his next court date on December 28, the 25-year old father of four listened as the charges were read out: four counts of murder; two of robbery and two of burglary. He faces life in prison if convicted.
Though there was just one death, the four murder counts in the indictment announced Wednesday refer to different avenues prosecutors can use to prove the crime, Cook County State’s Attorney spokesperson Tandra Simonton explained. For example, any forcible felony (such as armed robbery) that results in a person’s death can be prosecuted as first degree murder regardless of the suspect’s intent.
At his next court date, the chief magistrate will assign a judge to the case; at the following one, he’ll be asked to address the charges.
Salamon’s attorney, Mike Bianucci, said Salamon plans to plead not guilty, despite “videotaped admissions” prosecutors say he made to police about the early morning attack Oct. 4, 2009.
The Chicago Police Department did not respond by publication to questions Wednesday about the status of the criminal investigation but prosecutors said nothing has changed about their story of what happened and there have been no new arrests in the case.
Since his November 11 arrest, prosecutors have been saying that, according to Salamon, he was enlisted to help a second suspect who planned the crime, who had the motive in the case and who beat O’Lanagan’s owner Robert Gonzalez to death with a metal pipe.
Prosecutors say this second suspect, whom police questioned but released without charge after Salamon implicated him, was injured in a fight three weeks prior to the murder at O’Lanagan’s. According to the prosecution’s story, this second suspect returned with Salamon to lie in wait outside the tavern at 2335 W. Montrose Ave. seeking money and revenge.
According to independent reporting by Center Square Journal, this September 11, 2009 fight took place on the sidewalk in front of the bar, and, in addition to the unnamed suspect, involved a man whom Gonzales was paying to remodel O’Lanagan’s. Employees said the second suspect had been badgering Gonzales to compensate him for his injury in the fight.
Salamon admitted to hitting the 69-year-old with his fists, prosecutors say, and used the man’s keys to enter the bar, tripping the alarm. Gonzales had $2,000 in cash on him when police found him lying critically injured in the driveway behind the bar.
Investigators got a break in the two-year-old crime, which shocked local residents and business owners, after Salamon reportedly told other people what happened and they informed police.