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updated: 3/12/2014 3:06 PM

Vernon Hills man pleads guilty to lesser charge in murder-for-hire case

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  • Jonathon Villasana

      Jonathon Villasana


A Vernon Hills man accused of hiring a person he thought was a hitman to kill the mother of a woman he injured in a motorcycle crash has pleaded guilty to reduced charges in the case.

Jonathan Villasana, 24, of the 0-100 block of Timber Lane, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit home invasion in Lake County court Wednesday. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison as part of the negotiated plea agreement in front of Judge James K. Booras, Lake County State's Attorney spokeswoman Cynthia Trujillo-Vargas said.

Villasana also received credit for the 209 days spent in jail since his arrest last May, Trujillo-Vargas said.

Villasana was initially charged with and pleaded not guilty to solicitation of murder and solicitation of murder for hire. Had he been found guilty of those charges, authorities say, he could have been sentenced up to 40 years in prison.

In 2013, Villasana was convicted of reckless driving for a 2012 motorcycle crash on Greenleaf Drive, authorities said. Villasana was driving a motorcycle with a female passenger at high speed when he lost control and hit a chain-link fence, seriously injuring the woman, authorities said.

After the guilty verdict, authorities said, Villasana asked a friend to find someone to kill the crash victim's mother. The unidentified friend went to police instead, authorities said

An undercover officer twice met with Villasana, authorities said, and Villasana agreed to pay the officer $5,000 to kill the victim's mother.

Last May, Villasana was arrested on the solicitation charges on the same day he was sentenced to 90 days in jail on the reckless driving conviction, officials said.

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