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posted: 10/22/2012 5:49 PM

Shooting suspect arraigned in Willowbrook murder

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  • Juan Cuellar

    Juan Cuellar

  • Elva Hernandez

    Elva Hernandez


A Willowbrook man could face life in prison if convicted of murdering an 18-year-old who was repeatedly shot in broad daylight last month.

Juan Cuellar, 23, of the 10S700 block of Lilac Lane, pleaded not guilty Monday to five counts of first-degree murder in the death of Downers Grove Township resident Joshua Holmes.

Cuellar could face an extended term of 45 years to life if he is found guilty of personally discharging the firearm that killed Holmes, said DuPage County Assistant State's Attorney Steve Knight.

Cuellar is accused of shooting the victim six times during a Sept. 24 confrontation in the area of Honeysuckle Rose and Hyacinth Lanes near Willowbrook. Witnesses saw a motorist approach the intersection and gun down Holmes through a passenger-side window about 6:35 p.m. after Holmes walked up to the vehicle, authorities have said.

Cuellar's mother, Elva Hernandez, 42, has been charged with concealing the firearm used in the killing and lying about her son's whereabouts, according to court records. On Monday, she pleaded not guilty to three counts of obstructing justice, authorities said.

Cuellar is being held without bond and is next scheduled to appear Nov. 27 in front of Judge Daniel Guerin.

Hernandez also remained in custody Monday with bail set at $200,000. She's scheduled to go before Judge Kathryn Creswell on Thursday to request a bond reduction.

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