New developments shatter defense’s claim to self-defense in Jovan Fresco case

Jovan Fresco was murdered while celebrating his 34th birthday in April 2016. Only after the community marched and demanded justice were charges finally brought against his killers, security guards Ryan Mattingly and Alijon Khalil, three months later. | Photo: Rockford Register Star

By Fighting Words Staff – Rockford, IL

An emotional court session held on April 11 explained, for the first time, a more detailed timeline of the killing of Valentia Jovan Fresco. It has been nearly three years since Metro Enforcement security guards Ryan Mattingly and Alijon Khalil chased down and shot Fresco on Auburn Street while he was celebrating his 34th birthday in April 2016. It was only after months of marches through downtown Rockford, led by Fresco’s family and their supporters, that charges were filed against Mattingly and Khalil in July 2016.

After three years of portraying Fresco as the aggressor and blaming him for being the victim of a heinous crime, Mattingly’s own defense attorney shattered those lies by pointing the finger at his client’s co-defendant, Alijon Khalil. Mattingly’s attorney, arguing to have his client receive a separate trial, explained that Khalil was the initial aggressor by pulling his firearm and pointing it at Fresco before having any just cause. He went on to explain that since Khalil admitted to pulling his firearm before there was just cause, it eliminates his ability to claim self-defense. Since Mattingly and Khalil are being tried together, Mattingly’s attorney claims this also eliminates Mattingly’s ability to claim self-defense even though he was supposedly retrieving their vehicle when Khalil pulled his firearm.

The prosecution argued that both Mattingly and Khalil were initial aggressors because they were working in tandem the entire time. There were also multiple instances in which they initiated attacks against Jovan, and Mattingly was supervising Khalil. Judge John Lowry will rule on whether or not to separate the defendants on May 2.

Without the intervention of the community, the truth of the events surrounding the murder of Jovan Fresco would have never come to light. There is still a long road ahead in the legal process but this session should uplift those struggling for a better Rockford. Let’s move forward with the lessons learned of the community’s strength and to support his family by showing up to the court dates in solidarity.

If you would like to show support for Jovan Fresco’s family, please attend the upcoming court date on May 2, 2019, at 420 West State Street in Rockford, Illinois.

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