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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
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July 20, 2009

MADIGAN: KANKAKEE MAN SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS FOR REFUSING TO TESTIFY IN DOUBLE-MURDER TRIAL

Chicago – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan today secured a 20-year sentence against a former Kankakee man for refusing to testify in a double-murder trial in Kankakee County Circuit Court.

Judge Clark Erickson sentenced Terrell Geiger, 25, on one charge of criminal contempt for his refusal to testify in the December 2008 double murder trial of Javar Hollins. Madigan's office prosecuted Hollins, who was found guilty of murdering Lazerick Martin and LaMichael Cox during a March 1999 armed robbery in Kankakee, Ill.

During the Hollins trial, the prosecution called Geiger as a key witness with critical evidence of Hollins' guilt. Geiger repeatedly refused to testify, citing his 5th Amendment right, despite a court finding that Geiger had no such right and a grant of immunity. Later, Geiger was charged with the criminal contempt count.

"Witness testimony is one of the most important tools of the justice system," Madigan said. "When witnesses refuse to testify without any legal basis to do so, it can negatively impact a prosecutor's ability to seek justice on behalf of crime victims as well as on behalf of the public in general."

Senior Assistant Attorney General William Elward and Statewide Grand Jury Chicago Bureau Chief John Kezdy prosecuted the case.

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