One of the three defendants in the June 3 murder of Colin Nutter of Highland Park has been offered a deal in exchange for a guilty plea, according to Assistant Lake County State’s Attorney Reggie Mathews.
Though Mathews would not disclose the terms of the offer he has given to Philip Vatamanivc, 17, of Highland Park when talking to Patch today, he did confirm a deal is on the table.
“We have tendered a formal offer to the defense and it is up in court Sept. 27 for further discussion,” Mathews said. If no deal is made, the case will proceed to trial.
A story in the Daily Herald today reported the deal would require Vatamanivc to spend 25 years in prison to avoid a murder conviction. The Highland Park teenager would spend 20 years in jail for armed robbery and a consecutive five years for concealment of a murder. The defense attorney, Robert Ritacca, will discourage his client from taking the opportunity.
“I have a young kid here who was not involved with what happened," Ritacca said in the Daily Herald story. "(The state) offered 20 years, then said he could get good time credit? I refuse to accept that."
Vatamanivc and Michael Coffee, 17, also of Highland Park, were in a car on Michigan Avenue in Highwood when Benjamin Schenk, 20, of Highwood shot Nutter in the back of the head June 3, according a previous Patch article.
Schenk, Coffee and Vatamanivc got into Nutter's Dodge Stratus, with Schenk sitting behind Nutter. Both Vatamanivc and Coffee gave statements indicating they watched as Schenk shot Nutter in the head, according to comments made by Lake County State’ Attorney Mike Nerheim during a June 7 news conference.
After, Schenk and Vatamanivc removed Nutter's body from his car and put it in the car's trunk. Schenk, Vatamanivc and Coffee then drove the car near the Edens expressway in Wilmette, where Nutter’s body was eventually found by a teenager walking her dog, according to the earlier Patch article.
Neither Schenk nor Coffee has been given offers yet, according to Mathews.