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Streator murder defendant story changes between interviews

Closing arguments set for May 24

Ashanti Roberts
Ashanti Roberts

In the final day of testimony in the trial of a Streator murder defendant, conflicting information was given to police involving prior relationships with those involved.

Ashanti Roberts, 22, Chicago, is charged with the May 22 shooting death of Maria De la Torre during an attempted robbery at De la Torre’s home in Streator.

Tamil Adams, 17, Dolton, and Hashim Waite, 25, Chicago, were also charged with the murder. A jury found Adams guilty Feb. 7 and he was sentenced to 35 years prison.

Streator Police Det. Jason Moore provided testimony and was accompanied by videos of two interviews with Roberts.

In the first, Roberts claims she was abducted and forced to drive two strangers to Streator in her own vehicle.

When asked in the interview why she didn’t drive away when shots were being fired she said she “didn’t know what to think, my mind was racing and my heart was pumping.”

Another interview was conducted that same day after police investigated her social media pages and Roberts said she knew nicknames for the two people in her vehicle and she wasn’t forced to drive the vehicle — and was instead asked. Roberts said she knew one through the father of her children and the other she previously met at a party.

Roberts said in the interview she never went into the home.

Assistant Public Defender Doug Kramarsic had Moore acknowledge Roberts said she had “taken a pill” that left her disoriented during the interview. Moore said Roberts did not appear nervous or scared during the interview.

Roberts declined the opportunity to give testimony on her own behalf.

Prosecutors had previously presented a phone message as evidence she knew a robbery was going to occur but Kramarsic argued no evidence was given showing a firm agreement between Roberts and others involved regarding a robbery or either splitting money and/or drugs.

Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. set a follow-up time for 11 a.m. Friday, May 24, for both parties to give closing arguments and a final ruling on the case.

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