April 24

Grayslake man pleads not guilty to murder charges in Round Lake Beach stabbing case

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A 29-year-old Grayslake man pleaded not guilty Monday to three counts of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of a man found by police in the garage of a Round Lake Beach home on Feb. 28.

Jesus Vargas is being held in Lake County jail on $3 million bail and would need to post $300,000 cash to be released while his case is pending.

Vargas appeared at the virtual hearing from jail. He did not speak during the hearing. His attorney, Paul Augustyn, entered the not guilty plea on his behalf.

Vargas is charged with fatally stabbing Brian Mahdee, 37, of Round Lake Beach, on Feb. 28 at a home on the 2000 block of Apache Trail.

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When police arrived at the scene they found Mahdee dead in the garage of stabbing wounds and Vargas injured with several cuts, according to Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokeswoman Sgt. Heather Cognac.

Vargas told investigators that he stabbed Mahdee multiple times after a verbal fight. Vargas was then taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville for treatment, Cognac said.

Witnesses who were in the home told police Vargas cut himself multiple times after stabbing Mahdee, Cognac said.

Police interviewed Vargas after he was out of the hospital on March 1 and charged him with murder on March 2.

Vargas is scheduled to appear before Judge George Strickland on May 25 for a case management hearing. A trial date has not been set.

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