A former Chicago man was convicted Thursday of fatally shooting an Addison Trail High School senior in May 2009 -- a killing prosecutors said was fueled by jealousy.
A DuPage County jury deliberated more than nine hours over two days before finding Luis Villavicencio-Serna, 21, guilty of murdering 18-year-old Armando Huerta Jr.
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Huerta was gunned down outside his home on the 300 block of Dale Drive in Addison early May 16, 2009, less than a month before he was due to graduate high school.
Prosecutors said Villavicencio-Serna shot Huerta because Huerta had been contacting the defendant's girlfriend, then a 16-year-old runaway who lived in the same apartment building as the victim and had briefly dated him.
After the jury delivered its verdict, Huerta's mother thanked Addison police and prosecutors for their work on the case, which took a hit when three people recanted eyewitness statements identifying the defendant as the shooter.
"Justice was served," Martha Huerta said through a Spanish interpreter. "Everybody did a phenomenal job."
Villavicencio-Serna showed no outward reaction as the jury delivered its verdict. He faces a minimum 45 years in prison.
Assistant public defenders George Ford and Brian Jacobs had argued that the three witnesses who once pointed to Villavicencio-Serna as the shooter were coerced and fed details by police during lengthy interrogations.
Although their earlier statements were recorded less than 48 hours after the shooting, the witnesses recanted weeks into the investigation and again when called to testify at trial.
"The verdict wasn't based on the evidence -- or lack thereof," said Jacobs, who argued Wednesday that "the state utterly failed to prove its case."
Armando Huerta was shot twice from behind -- once in the back and once in the leg -- with a .22 caliber handgun. Police found five shell casings at the scene but were unable obtain any fingerprints, prosecutors said.
Villavicencio-Serna was implicated by three people who said they were with him when he opened fire from the rear driver's-side window of a passing car. Among the witnesses was the defendant's former girlfriend, who later testified she was sleeping when the shooting occurred.
First Assistant State's Attorney Nancy Wolfe credited Addison police for the investigation that ultimately led to a conviction.
"We did our best, and the jury did its job," said Wolfe, who prosecuted the case with assistant state's attorneys Mary Cronin and Romas Mockaitis.
Villavicencio-Serna returns to court April 20, when Judge Daniel Guerin is expected to set a sentencing date. The defendant has been in the county jail for nearly three years on a $5 million cash bond.