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updated: 12/21/2011 3:46 PM

Aurora man pleads not guilty in death of Elgin 5-year-old

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  • Miguel Hernandez Jr.

    Miguel Hernandez Jr.


Legal Affairs Writer

An Aurora man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges he shot and killed a 5-year-old Elgin boy in what authorities say was an attack on the child's father.

Miguel Hernandez Jr., 27, of the 1100 block of Maple Street, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Eric M. Galarza Jr. outside his family home on Oct. 7. The boy was in a car with his parents and other family members when police say shots were fired at the vehicle as it pulled out of the driveway. Police say the intended target was the boy's father, Eric Galarza.

Police say Hernandez stepped out of a black Toyota Tundra, fired the shots, got back into the car and drove to GameWorks in Schaumburg, where they say he handed off the murder weapon to someone else. He was observed on tape near the location of the shooting, along I-90 and at GameWorks, authorities said.

Hernandez is being held without bail at the Cook County Jail. If convicted of first-degree murder and of using a firearm to commit that murder, he could face between 45 and 85 years in prison.

Hernandez next appears in court on Jan. 25.

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