‘Cowardly mastermind’ guilty in North Aurora home invasion
By Dan Campana For Sun-Times Media February 4, 2014 5:00PM
Quintin D. Mullen / photo from North Aurora police
Updated: March 6, 2014 6:57AM
Quintin Mullen served as either a “cowardly mastermind” of a March 2013 North Aurora home invasion or a convenient scapegoat in a drug deal gone bad.
Those contrasting theories framed the second, and final, day of Mullen’s bench trial before Kane County Judge Karen Simpson Tuesday.
Prosecutors argued Mullen set up a young couple — including a marijuana dealing friend — as an easy target for a robbery. Mullen’s attorney, Ron Dolak, countered that the couple pointed at Mullen, who smoked pot with them and helped with their move to North Aurora, instead of identifying the gunman who threatened their lives.
Simpson’s verdict favored prosecutors, as she found the 23-year-old Mullen guilty of home invasion, armed robbery and other charges. He remains held in Kane County Jail with sentencing scheduled for April 23. Mullen faces a minimum of 21 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Mullen and the gunman, who has never been located, forced their way into the home on Laurel Lane in North Aurora on March 1, 2013. The gunman held the couple at bay while Mullen retrieved a safe. The gunman shot the couple’s 18-month-old dog three times to send a message that they should not identify him to police, prosecutors said.
In closing arguments, prosecutors and Dolak agreed the young couple was “unintelligent” based on some of their actions following the incident, but the sides divided over the couple’s motivation for initial lies to police.
Assistant State’s Attorney Christine Bayer said the couple mislead investigators amid the emotional turmoil that immediately followed the home invasion.
“They are scared. Someone just came into their home and fired a gun,” Bayer told Simpson, adding their trial testimony was solid. “Their lies were in the past. They remembered the truth.”
Dolak tried to poke holes in the couple’s testimony, saying they frequently changed their descriptions of the suspects and revised recollections of what they did after the break in.
“They weren’t bright,” Dolak said. “Their story was awful ... they couldn’t remember their lies. They’re not very good at improv. People in shock don’t concoct diversions.”
Assistant State’s Attorney Alex Bederka and Bayer said the couple’s reactions didn’t change the role Mullen played in the robbery.
“This defendant ... is the cowardly mastermind,” Bederka said.