Moments after David Campbell arrived in the back office of a Waukegan auto-body shop, Eric Castillo grabbed him from behind while a second assailant hit the 27-year-old victim in the head with a hammer, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Jim Newman told jurors the assailants began interrogating Campbell for a crime he didn't commit. They tortured the Waukegan man by cinching multiple plastic bags over his head and burning him with blow torch.
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Castillo, 26, of the 38000 block of North Sheridan Road in Beach Park, is on trial this week and faces life in prison for assisting in Campbell's murder in July 2011.
"As David was being held by this defendant (Castillo), the first of several grocery bags were placed over his head and held there," Newman said during opening statements. "More grocery bags were cinched tight while the defendant held him down."
Police said five people -- including Castillo -- were looking for revenge when they lured Campbell to the auto-body shop through a fake drug deal and attacked him.
Following the July 5 murder, Newman said, the five conspired to dump Campbell's body in the Penny Road Pond near Barrington, hide his car in Indiana, then split up between $15,000 and $20,000 Campbell had in his possession at a Wisconsin hotel room.
However, defense attorney David Winer said the leader of the group -- Roberto Guzman, of Waukegan -- did not tell Castillo about the intent to murder. He said Castillo was simply told to hold down Campbell while the group robbed him.
"Eric was brought into this because he was big and strong," Winer explained. "He was told to grab him and hold him while the robbery happened."
Police said the attack against Campbell came after he was wrongly accused by the five of committing a sexual assault against one of the assailants five days earlier.
Cases involving two of the suspects in Campbell's death have already been decided.
Jose Horta, 21, of the 300 block of Edison Court in Waukegan, is due to be sentenced to prison March 11 after being found guilty of murder in November.
Guzman, 26, of the 1000 block of Berwick Boulevard in Waukegan, was sentenced to 29 years in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree murder in May.
Nadia Palacios, 24, of 3500 block of Windhaven Drive in Waukegan, is awaiting trial.
Authorities believe there was a fifth suspect in Campbell's murder, but that person has not been identified and has eluded capture.