Suburban stock trader guilty of murdering his best friend – NBC Chicago

A jury found suburban stock operator Michael Pelko guilty of the 2017 murder of his best friend on Friday.

Pelko sat upright and unmoved as the clerk read the verdict, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. He faces a 45-year life sentence.

Over the course of five days of trial, prosecutors had presented a very detailed case and an extremely short timeframe since Pelko picked up his close friend, Izat Morrar, near the Chicago Board of Trade on the afternoon of July 20. 2017.

As prosecutors pointed out, in about two hours, Pelko:

• Shot Morrar twice in the back of the head with an old .22 caliber pistol;

• Driven to his home in Willow Springs, – leaving his cell phone to conceal his location;

• Deposit of Morrar’s body in an alley on the 5300 block of South Calumet Avenue;

• Got home in time to go to a pizza place to celebrate his son’s Little League Championship.

Pelko had relied on cell phone cunning to back up his alibi that he was home, but had not relied on the location of the police surveillance cameras that showed Pelko’s SUV picking up Morrar in the financial district, then park in the alley where the body was found.

“Michael Pelko didn’t bury (Morrar) in the woods. He wanted to be found… so he could say ‘I was home! I was at Papa Passero (pizzeria)! ” Deputy State Attorney Michael Clark told jurors during his final argument. “He wanted to be found when his alibi was already in place.”

Pelko’s lawyers had argued that it was impossible for Pelko to have traveled the route in the allotted time; they put Pelko’s wife – who filed for divorce after his arrest – and her 12-year-old son on the witness stand to substantiate Pelko’s claim that he was at home in Willow Springs when Morrar was kill.

Prosecutors had alluded to text messages that appeared to show an argument between the two childhood friends weeks before Morrar was killed, but never explained why the chubby and bald stock trader would want to kill his close friend, attorney Michael Ettinger said in his final argument.

“He didn’t kill his best friend. There is no motive and there is no opportunity and it is impossible, ”said Ettinger.

Pelko himself took the witness stand and said that he and Morrar and a more threatening third friend, whom he let in the car, went to sell drugs. During a two-hour cross-examination, prosecutors pointed out that during the three times he was questioned by police after Morrar’s body was discovered – including a marathon questioning that ended with Pelko accused Morrar’s murder – Pelko had insisted his car had been in the driveway of his Willow Springs house the entire time.

Pelko was charged with Morrar’s murder almost six months later. Then, even when detectives confronted Pelko with photos of Morrar entering his Hyundai Santa Fe and Morrar’s body removed from the passenger seat in the south side alley, Pelko did not mention the drug dealing or that Morrar had. borrowed the car.

“(You) went straight home, then someone took your car without you knowing it, put Izat in the car, dead or alive, threw his body 53rd and Calumet and brought him back”, a said the detective. Roger Murphy asked a brooding Michael Pelko. “Is that your story you’re sticking with?” Asked a detective.

“Well that’s good enough,” Pelko replied.

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