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updated: 7/28/2010 7:45 PM

Two charged in Mt. Prospect murder; one suspect a 15-year-old

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  • Marko Guardiola

    Marko Guardiola


A 37-year-old homeless gang member and a teenage acquaintance were both denied bond Wednesday after being charged with murdering a 52-year-old Mount Prospect man in his apartment last week.

Police found Jean Wattecamps face down and lifeless on his living room couch, tied up with computer cords and with a 4-inch pocket knife sticking out of his back, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Mike Gerber said. He had been stabbed eight times.

Marko Guardiola, 37, of Chicago and Edwin Paniagua, 15, of unincorporated Elk Grove Township were both arrested Tuesday and each charged with one count of first-degree murder.

Paniagua is charged as an adult and therefore is being named by the Daily Herald even though he is a juvenile.

Both are being held in Cook County jail. Their next court date is Aug. 19.

Mount Prospect police Sgt. Joseph Belmonte said the two men and the boy became acquainted at the Colony Apartments swimming pool, in the multiunit complex off Elmhurst Road on the 2300 block of Lexington Drive. Wattecamps was the only one of the three who lived in the complex, police said.

A family friend of Wattecamps, in court Wednesday, said Wattecamps bought the two suspects lunch that afternoon as a kind gesture, and they killed him that night because "they thought he had money."

Gerber said he couldn't confirm this but agreed, "That's what I heard."

"It wasn't random," Belmonte said of the murder, "but something went bad."

Mount Prospect police officer Mark Bechtold said Guardiola is a gang member with an extensive criminal history, including 47 prior criminal arrests. Among the previous charges mentioned in court Wednesday were aggravated robbery, reckless conduct and aggravated assault.

Five Cook County sheriff's deputies surrounded Guardiola as he stood before Cook County Circuit Court Judge Edward Pietrucha for his bond hearing Wednesday. Four other deputies guarded the doors.

The public defenders said Guardiola is unemployed, his last known address is in Chicago, and he has a wife and two children, with another baby on the way.

Paniagua and his family just moved to the Northwest suburbs from Chicago a few months ago. He had been a student at Chicago's Senn High School, is a U.S. citizen, and has no criminal history, the public defenders said.

Wattecamps had lived in the Colony Apartments since 2004. He worked as a baggage manager for American Airlines at O'Hare International Airport, his family friends said.

Police discovered his body after a relative called them, concerned that he hadn't shown up to work and wasn't returning phone calls. When police arrived at his third-floor apartment July 22, they found the front door wide open and Wattecamps' body motionless on the living room sofa, Mount Prospect police said. The crime is believed to have occurred the night before, on July 21, prosecutors said.

Mount Prospect Police Chief John Dahlberg praised the detective and forensic work done by Mount Prospect and Major Case Assistance Team detectives and MCAT forensic technicians.

"Their commitment and expertise was self-evident as they worked tirelessly around the clock for nearly four consecutive days to process the crime scene and/or identify and apprehend the individuals responsible for Mr. Wattecamps' murder," Dahlberg said in a news release.