Judge rules in favor of Jovan Fresco’s killers for separate trials

Rosie Blake, mother of Jovan Fresco, stands with other Rockford residents in 2016 to protest Fresco’s murder by Metro Enforcement security guards. | Photo: Rockford Register Star

By Fighting Words Staff – Rockford, IL

In April 2016, Ryan Mattingly and Alijon Khalil murdered Valentia Jovan Fresco while working private security at Auburn Manor in Rockford, Illinois. Fresco, who was a beloved son, brother, father, and partner, was celebrating his 34th birthday when Mattingly and Khalil chased him away from Auburn Manor and shot him without provocation. Fresco’s death sparked immediate protests from family and community residents against Metro Enforcement, the private security company assigned to Auburn Manor, and against the courts to file charges against those responsible. After months of persistent demonstrations, the courts reluctantly filed murder charges and named Mattingly and Khalil publicly.

Since charges were initially filed in 2016, there has been a consistent series of decisions by the court system that are sympathetic to these killers. After waiting months to finally prosecute or name Mattingly and Khalil, the courts let them bail out for only $2000 on multiple counts of murder. After this, there were missed curfew calls and a missed drug test which were part of their conditions of release, yet this failed to have their bond revoked. Last year, Judge Lowry even granted the defense’s motion to drop all charges. Charges were immediately filed again.

On April 11, 2019, while arguing for their motion to separate the defendants, Mattingly’s attorney explained publicly for the first time that Khalil admitted to instigating the attack on Fresco. This stops the defendants’ ability to stick to their bogus claims of self-defense. While this should seem to finally crush any doubt cast on their guilt in the murder of Jovan Fresco, to the courts that does not seem to be the case.

On May 9, days before Mother’s Day, the same judge once again ruled in sympathy of admitted murderers to the protest of Fresco’s family and friends in attendance.

Judge Lowry ruled to grant the motion by Mattingly’s attorney to separate the defendants on grounds that Mattingly would not receive a fair trial otherwise. This is an clear attempt to set Mattingly up for the ability to get off on the murder charges or plea for a much lesser offense.

Despite the challenges that the court system has placed in the way of a small semblance of justice for Jovan Fresco since April 2016, his mother along with other family and friends have not once stop their determined pursuit. As we have for three years now, we ask that all those who oppose racism, police and private security brutality, and desire a safer community to attend all court dates and events in solidarity with Jovan Fresco’s family.

The next court date is June 10 at 3:30PM at 420 W State Street, Room 314, in Rockford, Illinois.

You can also find more information on the events planned in solidarity with Jovan Fresco’s family at the Communist Workers League – Rockford Facebook page.


  1. Fighting for Jovan No Justice No Peace. People are quick to judge. Especially when you don’t know a person. Well I know this baby & he was raised with good value & ethics. His mother was a singles mom & she stopped at nothing when it came to her boys. Bringing them up in the church,to staying involved in the schools. To keeping involve in the community growing up with a purpose. How I know this because I was there. So when I heard of ordeal.I sit & I listen to all of the negative comments & it angered me to see how society still haven’t educated theirselves on bias issues which is said.. I want justice for this baby because he wouldn’t harm a flea. The metros are here to speak for themselves. Who’s here to hear Jovan’s.

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