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Lovato charged with four counts of first-degree murder; bond set at $5 million

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Rich Egger
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Tri States Public Radio
Police were called to Four Oaks Apartments, 425 N. Charles St., at 4:34 a.m. March 9, following a report of a shooting. The apartments are on the east edge of the WIU campus.

A male victim, identified as Ivan Almanza of Macomb, was found unresponsive with gunshot wounds to the head.

Bond was set at $5 million for a Beach Park man accused in the shooting death of an acquaintance of his ex-girlfriend at a Macomb apartment.

Dylan B. Lovato, 22, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder.

Lovato appeared via video conference Thursday in McDonough County court in a striped jail jumpsuit before 9th Circuit Judge Raymond Cavanaugh.

He is represented by attorneys Andrew Stuckart and Justin Bougher.

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McDonough County jail
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Dylan Lovato, 22, of Beach Park, is charged with first-degree murder.

McDonough County State’s Attorney Matthew Kwacala outlined the evidence.

Kwacala said police were dispatched at 4:34 a.m. Wednesday, March 9, to Apt. 11 of the Four Oaks Apartments, 425 N. Charles St., following a report of a shooting.

The apartments are on the east edge of the campus of Western Illinois University.

A male victim, identified in court as Ivan Almanza of Macomb, was found unresponsive with gunshot wounds to the head that caused severe bleeding and massive swelling, according to Kwacala.

Almanza was transported to McDonough District Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:09 a.m.

A WIU spokesperson said Almanza is not a current student, but attended WIU in the past.

A woman who lived at the apartment told police she and the victim were asleep in a bedroom when she heard a noise at the front door.

A man dressed in black, later identified as Lovato, had entered the apartment.

Lovato, who is the woman’s ex-boyfriend, was on the lease to the apartment and still had a key, Kwacala said.

Prosecutors allege Lovato shot the victim in the head while he was still in bed.

Kwacala said the woman told police Lovato ran past her after the shooting and stated, “I love you. I’m sorry.”

Lovato graduated from WIU in the fall of 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration.

He also minored in scuba diving, a spokesperson for WIU confirmed.

According to Lovato’s LinkedIn page, he was involved with Sigma Pi fraternity at WIU and volunteered to read to children at a campus daycare center.

Lovato was apprehended without incident in Galesburg less than an hour after the shooting occurred.

Kwacala said after Lovato was pulled over, he volunteered information to Galesburg police officers about the shooting, including that he had stolen guns from his father, who is a police officer.

Prosecutors said Lovato called his ex-girlfriend multiple times on March 8.

But she only answered once.

In that call, Lovato reportedly told her he was either going to kill Almanza -- or kill himself.

Lovato faces up to natural life in prison.

With bond set at $5 million, bail is $500,000.

Cavanaugh said if Lovato does make bail, he will be on house arrest 24 hours a day.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for 3 p.m. April 4.

A GoFundMe has been established to assist Almanza's family with funeral costs.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson covers west central Illinois and southeast Iowa for Tri States Public Radio.