Defendant in murder case awaits verdict

Otto Emil Koloto, 24

A Gilroy man charged with the shooting death of a 27-year-old
South San Francisco resident is awaiting a jury’s verdict.
A Gilroy man charged with the shooting death of a 27-year-old South San Francisco resident is awaiting a jury’s verdict.

Otto Emil Koloto, 23, faces the potential for life in prison without parole if convicted of the murder and robbery of Philip Lacy. Closing arguments ended just before noon Tuesday in Department 40 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose. As of Thursday morning, the jury was still deliberating, said Amy Cornell, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County Office of the District Attorney.

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.

The trial lasted for about a week as a string of police officers, a friend of the victim, friends of the defendant and Koloto’s alleged accomplice, Donald Robert Lee, 23, testified.

The 12-member jury must deliver a unanimous decision, Cornell said. She could not predict how long it would take the jury to reach a decision.

“It depends on how much evidence they have to review,” she said. “It’s hard to say. It all depends on the case.”

Koloto pleaded not guilty to murder and second-degree robbery charges stemming from the July 2008 shooting death of Lacy. Lee 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 Cornell.

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

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

SHARE
Previous articleScrapbook
Next articleGet ready, get set, hike El Toro

Leave your comments