Salamon to Plead ‘Not Guilty’ in O’Lanagan Slaying; Indictment Postponed

By Carrie Miller | Thursday, December 1, 2011

Andrew Salamon. From Chicago Police Department.

Andrew Salamon plans to plead “not guilty” for the 2009 murder of a Northcenter tavern owner, his lawyer said Wednesday, despite the “videotaped admissions” prosecutors say he made about the case earlier this month.

Salamon’s murder indictment, which had been expected on Wednesday, has been postponed, and is now scheduled for December 7.

The 25-year-old laborer, who made a brief court appearance wearing yellow Department of Corrections coveralls and handcuffs, remains held without bail.

In an interview, Assistant District Attorney Aileen Bhandari explained the continuance by saying detectives working the two-year-old case requested additional time to complete their investigation.

“We wanted to make sure we have all the evidence,” Bhandari said, adding that the state plans to prosecute Salamon regardless of whether there is another arrest in the case.

Salamon’s intention is to plead “not guilty,” according to private criminal defense attorney Mike Bianucci, who made his first appearance in the case Wednesday.

In previous court proceedings, prosecutors said Salamon made a videotaped statement naming another man as the person who planned the early morning October 4, 2009 attack on O’Lanagan’s owner Robert Gonzales, and that this second suspect wielded a metal pipe in the fatal beating. Prosecutors said Salamon, who allegedly beat Gonzales with his fists after he closed up the bar at 2335 W Montrose Ave., was recruited by this second suspect to help him avenge a fight he had weeks earlier at the tavern.

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.

The day after Salamon’s November 11 arrest, a second suspect was taken into custody and questioned, the district attorney’s office confirmed. But he was released two days later without being charged.

At the hearing Bianucci asked the judge whether he could submit a petition to have the detainee’s shoes brought to him, and was told the jail would not permit it.

The prosecutor, Bhandari, huddled with Gonzales’ family members prior to Salamon’s brief appearance, including his son Joseph Gonzales and his partner of four decades, Carol Kolek.

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