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Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Poker Bandit Gives Up

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

A third suspect in the robbery of a Chicago-area poker game last month that left a man dead has turned himself in to police.

According to media reports, Todd B. Evans, 23, of Rockford, Illinois, USA, turned himself in, was charged with armed robbery and first-degree murder and is in jail, unable to post a $1 million bail.

Police say Evans is one of three men who robbed a late-night poker game in Rockford on October 16, according to the reports.

Police responded to the location of the robbery as the robbers fled and encountered 80-year-old Vaughn “Curly” Fitzgerald, one of the poker players, waving a rifle and chasing one of the robbers, the reports said.

After Fitzgerald shot and wounded the robber, police ordered Fitzgerald, who also owns the building where the poker game was held, to drop the rifle, but Fitzgerald, who is deaf, did not hear the order, the reports said.

When Fitzgerald declined to drop his weapon, and instead pointed it towards police, Rockford police officers Jeffrey Oberts and Cheryl Buntjer shot him to death, the reports said.

The killing was later ruled a justifiable use of deadly force by the police, the reports said.

Previously, police had arrested Byron E. Starks, 34, and Dustin E. Frint, 19, in connection with the robbery and charged both with armed robbery and first-degree murder, the reports said.

Under the law, although the police were the ones who actually killed Fitzgerald, the three robbers are charged with murder because they participated in an armed robbery that led to a man’s death.

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected])

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