A 62-year sentence for convicted killer Lamaree Wilson-Neuleib will stand, a Rock Island County judge ruled Wednesday.
Judge Gregory Chickris denied a motion filed by attorneys for the 19-year-old Moline man during a 40-minute hearing at the Rock Island County Justice Center.
Wilson-Neuleib, who is serving his sentence at the Illinois River Correctional Center, did not attend the hearing.
The ruling now ends the trial court process and opens the door to the appeals process, Rock Island County State’s Attorney John McGehee said after the hearing.
Wilson-Neuleib’s attorney, Dora Villarreall, said she will file a notice of appeal.
A Rock Island County jury convicted Wilson-Neuleib of first-degree murder and aggravated battery in October.
Prosecutors argued at trial that Wilson-Neuleib, then 17, fired 11 bullets into the car of Zachary M. Phillips, 18, around 10:30 a.m. May 20, 2015, in the 4600 block of 53rd Street in Moline.
Phillips died from his injuries. His friend and front-seat passenger, Erik Roberson, 21, was seriously injured but survived. A third man, Matthew Merrill, 19, who was in the backseat of the car, was uninjured.
Roberson testified at trial that Wilson-Neuleib had called him earlier that morning to buy marijuana. Wilson-Neuleib was arrested shortly after the shooting and was charged as an adult.
On March 15, Chickris sentenced him to 50 years in prison on the murder charge and 12 years in prison on the aggravated battery charge. He must serve 100 percent of the murder sentence and 85 percent, or 10.2 years, of the battery sentence before he is eligible for parole on that charge.
He will be 77 years old.
His attorneys filed a motion in March to reconsider the sentence.
Villarreal argued Wednesday that Wilson-Neuleib’s sentence was excessive and amounted to a de facto life sentence, which she said is unconstitutional.
She pointed to two recent Illinois appellate court decisions related to sentences for juvenile offenders.
She further argued that Chickris failed to properly consider Wilson-Neuleib’s age, maturity level, cognitive impairment, and family history and environment, among other factors.
Rock Island County State’s Attorney John McGehee said Chickris properly weighed and analyzed all the factors at sentencing.
Chickris denied the motion and noted that he went through each of the factors before handing down his sentence. He reiterated his belief that the shooting was not an impulsive act or that Wilson-Neuleib’s actions that day were the result of peer or family pressure.
“He planned it himself, he wore gloves, he attempted to shoot everybody, and he tried to destroy all the evidence,” Chickris said.
He added, “I believe that the court did what it was supposed to do and came out to the result that it did based upon the reasons stated at the time of sentencing.”
Phillips’ mother, Lyndsie McCoy, said she was relieved that the judge denied the motion.
“He knowingly went there to unload a clip into a car,” she said. “He made a decision to kill people, and he did, so he should suffer the consequences of his actions. I think we know right from wrong at a young age.”