An Aurora man accused of strangling his wife in summer of 1990, then rolling up her body in an area rug and burying it at a horse farm in Naperville, only to move it later, was found guilty by a Kane County jury Wednesday after more than three hours of deliberations.
Aurelio Montano, 55, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Maria Guadalupe Montano, 34, who was last seen July 7, 1990. Her body has not been found.
In a three-day trial this week before Judge Karen Simpson, prosecutors argued that a jealous Montano killed his wife because he thought she was being unfaithful.
Assistant State's Attorney Greg Sams said Montano, who had initiated divorce proceedings in 1985 but didn't pursue the matter, tried to get relatives to help him dispose of the body.
Montano showed his estranged sister the dead body, and warned her not to tell anyone. He also asked his nephews about getting a wood chipper, and eventually moved the body after burying it, according to trial testimony.
Aurora police excavated at the farm in spring 1994 but only found the rug and twine. In 2007, the police and FBI utilized three specially trained cadaver dogs who gave positive alerts for odors of human decomposition on the rug and a barn containing the twine. Montano told his daughter, Maribel, who was 10 at the time, his wife left him for another man.
"There is a motive in this case, and that motive is jealousy," Sams said in his closing argument. "The defendant (killed Guadalupe), covered it up, moved the body and now it's time he pays for it."
Even if the jury acquits Montano, he won't go free. He is in prison serving a life sentence for ordering the murders of two people from Texas during a drug deal in 1996.
Assistant Public Defender Brenda Willett pointed to inconsistencies in the testimony from Montano's relatives. She questioned why it would take them 17 years -- Montano was indicted in summer 2008 -- to tell authorities what they knew. Willett also questioned why Montano's sister's testimony had more details -- including that she saw Guadalupe's dead body -- when she testified to a grand jury in 2008 that she only saw the dead woman's feet.
Willett said it was possible the cadaver dogs gave false positive alerts as well and no blood or DNA from Guadalupe was found on the "mystery rug."
"Mrs. Montano's body has never been found, any part of her body recovered," Willett said. "There's nothing on that rug, nothing at all is found or testified about to somehow prove Mrs. Montano was buried in that rug."