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updated: 5/6/2014 5:34 AM

Aurora man pleads not guilty to murder of DuPage jail nurse

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  • Jose Loera Jr.

      Jose Loera Jr.

 
 

An Aurora man accused of beating and strangling his ex-girlfriend with her own scarf pleaded not guilty Monday to five counts of first degree murder.

If found guilty, Jose Loera Jr., 35, of 3845 Gabrielle Lane automatically faces a minimum of 20 years in prison to natural life. But prosecutors said they intend to prove the March 29 murder of Heather Jacobi, 32, occurred in a "brutal and heinous" manner, which would boost Loera's minimum sentence to 60 years.

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Several of Jacobi's friends and family members attended Monday's arraignment to get their first look at the man accused of killing Jacoby. They wore purple shirts and purple nursing scrubs, a nod to domestic violence awareness. Loera also had several family members in attendance.

Loera, who had a no-contact order lifted a day before the murder, became enraged when he discovered Jacobi had been texting and exchanging social media messages with another man, according to prosecutors. Jacobi put up a fight, clawing at Loera's face. But once he got her on the ground, prosecutors said, he put his knee in her back as he strangled her with her scarf.

Authorities said Loera then used the former DuPage County Jail nurse's own stethoscope to confirm she was dead before taking several pill bottles from her house and fleeing to his house. Once there, Loera took several more pills and passed out in a suicide attempt.

Since his arrest, Loera has been housed in the Kendall County Jail for his safety and to avoid any conflicts that may arise from Jacobi's previous position as a nurse at the DuPage County jail.

Loera's next court date is set for June 17.

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