Kane County prosecutors this week formally removed the death penalty from consideration for their fifth and final case.
State's Attorney Joe McMahon met with each of the five families after Gov. Pat Quinn last month signed legislation to ban the death penalty as of July 1.
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"I sensed a certain level of relief from them," said McMahon, adding that Quinn's decision had eliminated the "atmosphere of uncertainty" surrounding capital punishment since former Gov. George Ryan enacted a moratorium.
McMahon also noted that families of victims won't have to revisit the crime for every hearing, appeal and delay during a lengthy process of a capital case.
"We can do our job here just fine without the death penalty," McMahon said.
Of the county's five cases, two are in the sentencing phase:
• Darren Denson, 39, could get life in prison at a May 26 hearing. Denson was convicted last week of killing Kyle Juggins in 2003 in Elgin and is serving a 50-year sentence for a murder and armed robbery in Milwaukee.
• Hector Mauricio, 24, of Aurora, faces life in prison for the 2007 murder of 83-year-old Roscoe Ebey in 2007. A sentencing hearing is set for June 8.
Ongoing cases are:
• Frank Hill, 33, of Gilberts, is accused of the January 2007 slaying of Karyn Pearson in Gilberts and his trial is set for mid-May.
• Jaime M. Diaz, 34, of Aurora is charged with the 1998 murders of Brendan Anderson and Elias Calcano. He is due in court on Wednesday.
• Aurelio Montano, 55, has been charged with the July 1990 murder of his wife, Guadalupe Maria Montano, in Aurora. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1998 and prosecutors withdrew their intent to seek the death penalty during a court hearing Friday.