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posted: 11/22/2013 7:53 PM

Guilty verdict in torture-murder case

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A Waukegan man was found guilty Friday in a 2011 torture and murder case.

Jose Horta, 21, of the 300 block of Edison Court, had been charged with first-degree murder in the death of David Campbell, 27, of Waukegan.

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The Lake County jury took less than two hours to decide on the verdict, Assistant State's Attorney Jim Newman said.

Because of the brutality of the killing, Horta could spend anywhere from 35 years to the rest of his life in prison, Newman said.

Horta remains jailed without bond pending sentencing, which is scheduled for Jan. 8.

Prosecutors said Horta pointed a gun at Campbell while other individuals hit in the head with a hammer, choked and burned him with a blowtorch in a Waukegan auto-body garage.

His body later was found in a Cook County forest preserve pond near Barrington.

Campbell was targeted by the assailants after they thought he was involved in sexual assault, prosecutors said. He wasn't.

In an interview after the verdict, Newman praised Waukegan and Cook County sheriff's police for their investigation.

In addition to Horta, three other people have been charged in the case.

In May, Roberto Guzman of Waukegan was sentenced to 29 years in prison following a guilty plea.

Also charged and awaiting trial are: Nadia Palacios of Waukegan and Eric Castillo of Beach Park.

Authorities believe one more person was involved, but a suspect hasn't been identified.

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