A Kane County judge Wednesday afternoon set bail at $1.5 million for a 16-year-old Elgin boy charged with the murder of another 16-year-old over the weekend in a "robbery gone bad."
Christopher D. Peralta, 16, of the 200 block of North Crystal Street, Elgin, is being charged as an adult with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted armed robbery and one count of attempted robbery, prosecutors say.
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He needs $150,000 cash to get out of jail while the case is pending.
Tears streamed from his mother's eyes, as Peralta was led into the courtroom in shackles.
After his hearing was over, his mother told him she loved him in Spanish as he was led to a holding area. "Te amo, Chris, te amo," she said.
Police said Peralta had been in custody for 24 hours on unrelated charges and then was questioned in the weekend stabbing.
Elgin Area School District U-46 officials believe Peralta was a student at Gifford Street Alternative High School, but don't know when he started.
According to a police synopsis read in court Wednesday, the victim's older brother, who was with him when he was killed, identified Peralta in a lineup.
Elgin Deputy Police Chief Cecil Smith said Peralta and his co-defendant, Joshua D. Dunbar, knew each other.
"Apparently, him and Josh had been friends for an undetermined amount of time," Smith said, adding that neither one of them knew the victim.
Police say that at 12:05 a.m. Saturday, the teens tried to steal backpacks from Edgar Guerra-Guzman and his brother on the 300 block of North Jackson Street. Peralta was wearing gloves and a mask, according to the police synopsis.
An altercation ensued as the brothers fought back. Dunbar stabbed Guerra-Guzman in the chest with a knife and left him lying in the street, police said.
Guerra-Guzman, a Larkin High School sophomore, was taken to Provena St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin, where he was pronounced dead. Police say they recovered the knife near the crime scene.
Dunbar, 19, of the 600 block of Margaret Avenue, also, is being held on $1.5 million bond and was charged earlier with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted armed robbery.
On Monday, Dunbar told police Peralta was with him at the time of the incident, according to the police synopsis that Judge James Hallock read in court.
The next day, although Peralta denied he had any involvement with the case, Guerra-Guzman's brother identified him in a lineup as one of the people involved in the attack, the synopsis read.
Prosecutors said Peralta was on pretrial release on a juvenile burglary charge when the crime occurred.
Guerra-Guzman's funeral Mass was Wednesday morning at St. Joseph Catholic Church in downtown Elgin.
Edgar was one of Jose and Maria Elena Guerra-Guzman's four sons. His youngest brother is a kindergartner at the parish school, Principal Janine Bolchazy said Tuesday.
According to the funeral home, burial will take place in Mexico.
Dunbar also needs $150,000 cash to secure his release while the case is pending. He is due in court at 9 a.m. June 10 at the Kane County Judicial Center.
Dunbar and Peralta could spend between 20 and 60 years in prison.
Depending on their criminal records, they could qualify for an extended prison sentence of between 60 and 100 years.