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Prosecutors say DeKalb murder involving Adam Koertner traces back to 2018 stabbing

SYCAMORE – Prosecutors said a 2018 stabbing over marijuana led to the shooting death of a Rochelle man last week in a DeKalb apartment.

Adam D. Koertner, 18, of the 900 block of Greenbrier Road, could face life in prison if convicted on a charge of first-degree murder Friday after the shooting death of Jacob Zamora, 18, of Rochelle.

The DeKalb County Coroner later confirmed that Zamora died from multiple gunshot wounds.

DeKalb County Assistant State’s Attorney Stephanie Klein read from evidence gathered by an ongoing DeKalb police investigation and said police believe Koertner made a FaceTime call shortly after the incident Thursday in which he said he shot the person who stabbed him.

Koertner attended Sycamore High School, although his last known address is in DeKalb. Koertner was denied bail Saturday pending further hearing Tuesday after DeKalb County Assistant State’s Attorney Stephanie Klein filed a motion to deny bond.

DeKalb County Circuit Court Judge Robbin Stuckert listened to Klein’s account of both the stabbing and the shooting, and then again denied Koertner bond based on the gravity of the evidence presented Tuesday.

Details allege Koertner shot victim over a previous marijuana incident

It was a somber and emotional affair Tuesday morning as Klein revealed more details in the Thursday shooting. Multiple police officers stood in the courtroom as Zamora’s family wept and gathered in the back. Koertner’s parents were escorted into the courtroom by a DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputy just as Koertner appeared in person, handcuffed and in an orange jumpsuit from the DeKalb County Jail.

When DeKalb County Public Defender Tom McCulloch argued that there was little evidence on the record to connect Koertner to the crime, Klein said she had more to share.

DeKalb police responded to a report of shots fired about 11:15 p.m. Thursday at the Ridgebrook Apartment complex, 835 Edgebrook Drive, owned by Hunter Properties LLC. They found Zamora lying on the floor of Apartment 17, Klein said, bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. They also found four shell casings on the landing.

Video surveillance obtained by DeKalb police from the building and surrounding areas shows Koertner arriving in a car shortly before the shooting, entering the building, exiting and then entering a second time, Klein said. Witnesses described a man with bushy hair wearing a pair of pants with a distinctive pattern.

Klein said a Hunter Properties employee told police that Koertner was “bougie” and described the distinctive pants he was wearing. Klein said the employees told police that Koertner made a call using the FaceTime mobile app during which he said he shot the person who stabbed him.

Klein then detailed the stabbing, which occurred when both Zamora and Koertner were juveniles. She said on June 24, 2018, Zamora tried to steal some marijuana from Koertner, and then stabbed him. It’s unclear how the 2018 case was resolved, or what formal charges were made because juvenile records are sealed.

On the Friday after the stabbing, DeKalb police found Koertner in the 900 block of Greenbrier Road, but he was not wearing the distinctive pants witnesses had described, nor was his hair “bushy,” Klein read from the police report.

During a search of his home, police found a bag with the pants and some hair clippings, and a K-9 dog alerted police to the presence of gun residue.

Koertner did not react as Klein read her account, and McCulloch did not respond to her remarks. Stuckert maintained Koertner be held without bond, and said his next court hearing will by a DeKalb County grand jury Feb. 11.

“The charges against the defendant carry a life sentence,” Stuckert said. “The court finds that the evidence carries a presumption of guilt.”

Neither Zamora nor Koertner were residents of the Ridgebrook Apartment complex and police continue to piece together why they may have been in that building. The investigation still is ongoing.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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