A 40-year-old man described by prosecutors as a gang member pleaded guilty Tuesday to the 2010 stabbing death of a Mount Prospect man who considered him a friend.
Marko Guardiola, who authorities say is homeless but whose address is listed as the 600 block of Perrie Drive in Elk Grove Village, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder before Cook County Judge Bridget Hughes. As part of Guardiola's plea agreement, he will be sentenced to 33 years in prison at a hearing set for May 28.
Police discovered the body of 52-year-old Jean Wattecamps, an American Airlines baggage handler, on July 22, 2010, after his brother called for a well-being check.
Police found the door to the apartment ajar and Wattecamps sitting upright on his couch with a blanket covering his bare chest and his ankles bound with a computer cord, said Cook County assistant State's Attorney Karen Crothers. Both the blanket and Wattecamps' pants were covered in blood and a large kitchen knife protruded from his back, Crothers said.
Police determined that Wattecamps had spent time with Guardiola days before the murder. Wattecamps befriended Guardiola and had bought dinner for him and several friends the night of his death, Crothers said.
After dinner, the group returned to Wattecamps' apartment to drink, she said. The visitors left, then returned. A woman asked to use the washroom, at which point Guardiola and 19-year-old co-defendant Edwin Paniagua tied the victim with the cord, Crothers said.
"Mr. Wattecamps was saying, 'You're my friend. What are you doing? What are you doing?'" she said.
While Paniagua looked around for items to steal, Guardiola held a knife to Wattecamps' throat and threatened to kill him, Crothers said. The attack concluded with Paniagua hitting Wattecamps and Guardiola stabbing him 10 times in the head and torso, Crothers said.
After which, "they fled the apartment with only $10," she said.
First-degree murder charges are pending against Paniagua, of unincorporated Elk Grove Township. Paniagua will likely face trial later this year, prosecutors said.