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Fate of 2nd man charged with Chicago cop’s slaying in 2011 now in hands of jury

Alexander Villa

Alexander Villa | Cook County sheriff's office

A jury in the second trial of three men accused of killing Chicago Police Officer Clifton Lewis during a 2011 convenience store robbery began deliberations Thursday night.

After a long day of testimony and arguments, Judge James Linn released jurors just before 8 p.m. to begin weighing the evidence they have heard since Monday in the trial of Alexander Villa.

Family and friends of Lewis and Villa, as well as dozens of police officers who attended the hearing, then filed out of the room to await the verdict.

Villa, 31, is accused of being one of two gunmen who allegedly shot Lewis when they were alleged to have robbed M&M Quick Foods in Austin, where Lewis, 41, was working a second job as a security guard.

He is facing charges of first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm and armed robbery in the case.

Officer Clifton Lewis | photo provided by Chicago Police Department

On Monday, prosecutors went frame-by-frame through surveillance video from four different cameras inside the store. The footage showed two men bursting into the convenience store and opening fire.

Villa was arrested in 2013.

Since Monday, jurors have heard the testimony of multiple witnesses who claimed to have heard Villa discussing or bragging about shooting a police officer during the robbery, prosecutors said during closing arguments.

Assistant State’s Attorney Nancy Adduci compared the case to a puzzle with missing pieces but said the picture painted by prosecutors — that of a guilty Alexander Villa — should be clear.

“The video shows it all,” Adduci said.

Villa’s private defense attorney, Michael F. Clancy, said the case was anything but clear and accused prosecutors of playing with the jurors’ emotions to find his client guilty of a cop’s murder.

“She wants you to forget the cold, hard facts of the case,” Clancy said of Adduci.

Clancy questioned the credibility of earlier witness testimony as fabricated and based on “rumors on the street,” and told jurors to focus on the video evidence and phone records — sources he said couldn’t lie or be swayed by human emotion.

A co-defendant, Edgardo Colon, was found guilty at trial two years ago and was sentenced to 84 years in prison for his role as the getaway driver in the robbery.

Another co-defendant, Tyrone Clay, is currently awaiting trial.

Andy Grimm contributed reporting for this story