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Article posted: 5/14/2013 6:59 PM

Vernon Hills man charged with hiring hitman to kill friend's mother

Police say Vernon Hills man tried to solicit a murder

By Lee Filas

A Vernon Hills man is accused of hiring an undercover police officer he believed was a hitman to kill the mother of a woman who was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash with him last year.

Jonathan Villasana, 24, of the 0-100 block of Timber Lane, is being held in the Lake County jail on $1 million bail after being charged with solicitation of murder and solicitation of murder for hire, Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Ben Dillon said.

Villasana was arrested on the charge last week after he was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 24 months of probation on a reckless driving conviction stemming from the March 2012 crash.

After a jury convicted him in March, Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Ken Lorenz said, Villasana reached out to a friend to find someone to kill the mother of the crash victim. Lorenz said he could not say what motivation Villasana had for wanting the victim's mother killed.

The unidentified third party went to police, Lorenz said, and an undercover officer met up with Villasana on March 19, the same day he was found guilty of reckless driving.

"The defendant met with the undercover officer on two occasions and agreed to pay him the sum of $5,000 to kill the victim's mother," Lorenz said. "He also made statements that he wanted it to look like a home invasion and a robbery."

After Villasana was sentenced and remanded to jail on the reckless driving charge, authorities arrested him on the solicitation of murder charge. He was brought in front of Lake County Judge Raymond Collins on May 9, where bail was set at $1 million, Lorenz said.

If found guilty of the most serious charge, Villasana could be sentenced up to 40 years in prison, Dillon said.

According to Dillon, the motorcycle crash occurred in March 2012 when Villasana was driving a motorcycle at a high speed on Greenleaf Drive in Vernon Hills with a female friend on the back. He lost control of the motorcycle, spun out and hit a chain-link fence, causing serious injuries to his passenger.

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