Three gang members attacked and killed a 22-year-old Wheaton man "like a pack of hyenas" after a confrontation at a weekend party, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Jonathan Jimenez, 19, of Aurora, and West Chicago residents Alejandro Martinez, 17, and Anthony Rios, 18, each face first-degree murder charges in the death of Thomas Tecuatl, who was found beaten and stabbed early Sunday along Route 59 in West Chicago.
Contact information ( * required )
DuPage County prosecutors said all four men attended a nearby party late Saturday on the 500 block of East Pomeroy Street. Tecuatl was slain after he brandished a knife toward seven or eight rival gang members during a heated confrontation, they said.
"The defendants were like a pack of hyenas," Assistant State's Attorney Steve Knight said in bond court. "After they chased him down, they hit him, kicked him, punched him, stabbed him and left him for dead."
Assistant State's Attorney Tim Diamond said the suspects armed themselves with a pipe, a pickax and bricks and bottles from a garage after Tecuatl pulled out a knife.
He said Rios struck the victim in the head with a pipe, and Martinez chased him into the street wielding a pickax over his head.
Once outside, Tecuatl lost his balance, fell and dropped the knife. That's when the three suspects "pounced on him and began pummeling him," according to Diamond, who said Jimenez picked up the knife and stabbed Tecuatl in the side four or five times.
Afterward, Martinez was seen drinking alcohol at the party, and Rios was overheard "bragging" about the mayhem, prosecutors said.
Tecuatl's body was found in a front yard on the 600 block of South Neltnor Boulevard (Route 59) early Sunday by a man retrieving his newspaper.
Authorities said all three suspects ultimately were apprehended after an investigation. In a police interview, Jimenez re-enacted the killing and acknowledged he was not acting in self-defense "because he had four or five of his buddies there to defend him," according to Diamond.
"If that's not coldblooded, I don't know what is," Diamond said in court.
Defense attorney Richard Kayne, who represents Martinez, contended his client left the fight after the victim dropped his knife.
"Once (Tecuatl) was disarmed, he had nothing left to do with him," Kayne said, though prosecutors immediately countered that Martinez admitted attacking the victim while he was unarmed.
Rios' attorney, DJ Tegeler, said he's conducting his own investigation.
"I haven't been able to review the police reports yet, but after speaking with my client, I am positive that after a jury hears all the facts, he will be found not guilty," Tegeler said.
DuPage Judge Elizabeth Sexton set bail at $1 million for Jimenez and $800,000 for Martinez. Rios' bail was set at $1 million by Judge Thomas Dudgeon. The defendants are due back in court next month.