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Trial opens for suspect accused of killing two at corner grocery for a few ‘lousy dollars’

4-13-07 Chicago Police charge Timothy Fountawith 2005 double homocide. Chicago Police Dept. mugshot.

4-13-07 Chicago Police charge Timothy Fountain with a 2005 double homocide. Chicago Police Dept. mugshot.

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Updated: November 25, 2012 11:55AM

She was a mother of two who worked as a cashier at the Southwest Side corner store.

He was the grandfather next door who had stopped by.

Graciela Rodriguez and Nicholas Guerrero were gunned down when a greed-driven Timothy Fountain walked into Maggy’s Food and pulled the trigger for a few “lousy dollars,” Cook County prosecutors said Tuesday at the opening of Fountain’s double murder trial.

Had Fountain not left behind a major clue — his Pick Four lottery tickets with the numbers 5150 and 5157, the Aug. 4, 2005 murders may have gone unsolved, assistant state’s attorney Jeffrey Allen said.

Detectives were led to the habitual robber in 2007 after linking the second series of numbers to the address of Fountain’s mother’s home, at 5157 S. Union. And soon, the evidence piled up, Allen said.

Not only was Fountain identified by a teen who saw him “face to face,” phone records allegedly show he was in the area at the time of the murders, in the 4400 block of South California. Fountain’s DNA was also found under 75-year-old Guerrero’s fingernails, Allen said.

But assistant public defender Lakshmi Jha said her 42-year-old client was innocent of the murder and armed robbery charges.

The prosecution’s case is “riddled with “assumptions, biases and flaws,” Jha said, pointing out that it is hard to identify the man in the grainy store surveillance footage who is captured robbing the store and screaming at Rodriguez. The defense attorney also described the high schooler who picked Fountain out of a photo array as “not reliable” and said her team will present an expert who will rule out Fountain’s DNA at the murder scene.

Fountain is accused of dragging Rodriguez, 37, from the bullet proof glass encased counter to the back of the store where the VCR system had been kept.

He shot her in the head as she begged for her life, authorities said.

Guerrero was also shot in the hand and head, according to court testimony.

Both victims were rushed to the hospital after they were discovered by the Frito-Lay delivery man. But they died the next day. “I was there,” Rodriguez’s younger brother Pedro Garcia testified, recalling how he watched his “hardworking” sister take her last breath.

Fountain’s trial continues Wednesday before Judge Charles Burns.

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