Defendant in murder case to stand trial

Otto Emil Koloto, 24

After multiple delays, the trial of a Gilroy man facing murder
and robbery charges will begin.
After multiple delays, the trial of a Gilroy man facing murder and robbery charges will begin.

Otto Emil Koloto, 23, of Gilroy pleaded not guilty to murder and second-degree robbery charges stemming from the July 2008 shooting death of a 27-year-old South San Francisco resident Philip Lacy. Koloto’s accomplice, Donald Robert Lee, 22, originally faced a murder charge, but pleaded guilty to an accessory charge and was sentenced to one year in county jail followed by five years of probation, according to Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Amy Cornell.

After months of searching, police found Koloto hiding out in a South San Jose condominium and arrested him Oct. 2, 2008, for the Lacy’s killing, police said.

About 2 a.m. July 13, 2008, Koloto shot and killed Lacy in Palo Alto during a street robbery that spiraled out of control, according to police. Lacy had been waiting for friends near the Palo Alto City Hall parking garage after a night of bar hopping, police said. He died from his wounds several days later at Stanford Hospital. Police said Lee was at the scene of the crime and was Koloto’s accomplice.

Koloto is being represented by the Office of the Public Defender.

His trial will begin 9 a.m. Wednesday in Department 40 of the Hall of Justice in San Jose. Superior Court Judge Kenneth Shapero will preside. The proceedings will begin with pre-trial motions, followed by jury selection and presentation of evidence next week.

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