Gogola faces trial for possession of firearm

Peter Gogola, a legally blind NIU student, will go to trial at 10 a.m. today for the misdemeanor charge of possession of a firearm without a firearm owners identification.

The misdemeanor charge stems from a July 26, 1986, incident in which 30-year-old Robert Lurz of Genoa was fatally shot while trying to enter an apartment rented by Gerardo Diaz, also a legally blind student.

Gogola and Diaz were charged with voluntary manslaughter in connection with the shooting incident.

Judge Rex Meilinger pronounced Diaz not guilty of the voluntary manslaughter charge on Sept. 21. The voluntary manslaughter charge against Gogola was then dropped on Sept. 30 and the next hearing postponed until today.

First Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Coghlan said the state moved to dismiss the voluntary manslaughter charges after Diaz was found not guilty.

Gogola’s attorney, Edward Dietrich, said his client is innocent of the weapons charge. “He had no possession of any firearm. I don’t know of any evidence they (prosecution) had that showed he (Gogola) had possession,” Diedrich said.