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updated: 7/2/2014 12:11 PM

Man gets probation for role in Aurora teen's murder

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  • Jose M. Becerra

      Jose M. Becerra

  • A white cross in memory of Abigail Villalpando, pictured here in a submitted photo, was placed near Fifth Street and Wabansia Avenue in Montgomery, where authorities found the burned body of Abigail Villalpando, 18, of Aurora.

      A white cross in memory of Abigail Villalpando, pictured here in a submitted photo, was placed near Fifth Street and Wabansia Avenue in Montgomery, where authorities found the burned body of Abigail Villalpando, 18, of Aurora.

  • Juan Garnica

      Juan Garnica

  • Enrique Prado

      Enrique Prado

 
 

The second of three people charged in the murder of an Aurora teen last year pleaded guilty to reduced charges and was sentenced to 18 months probation.

Jose M. Becerra, 22, of the 0-99 block of Seaton Creek Drive, Oswego, spent nearly 10 months in jail before pleading guilty Tuesday to attempted obstruction of justice in the death of Abigail Villalpando, 18, according to Kane County court records.

Becerra initially was charged with concealment of a homicide, which carries a penalty ranging from probation to five years in prison.

Juan Garnica, 20, of Aurora, was sentenced to 30 years last month after pleading guilty to first-degree murder.

According to prosecutors and a search warrant, Garnica invited Villalpando to his home on the 400 block of Jefferson Street in Aurora on Jan. 31, 2013, and struck her on the head with a hammer several times after asking her to look at a dead turtle in the home's aquarium.

Garnica then rolled up her 4-foot-10, 105-pound body in a blanket, stored it in a blue container in the rafters of a friend's garage before burning her body in a barrel, according to prosecutors and a search warrant. Garnica also called Becerra, who was accused of using his pickup truck to help Garnica and another person dump Villalpando's charred remains in a wooded area near Oswego.

Villalpando was reported missing after she failed to show up for work and her empty car, a 2003 Nissan Altima, was found engulfed in flames under an Aurora bridge.

The murder of Villalpando, a West Aurora High School student, was the city's first homicide since late 2011; 2012 was the city's first year without a homicide since 1946.

A message left with Eduardo Gil, who is Becerra's defense attorney, was not immediately returned.

If Becerra violates probation, he could be resentenced to up to a year in jail.

Judge John Barsanti accepted the plea, which also requires Becerra to pay $1,800 in fines and court costs, records show. Becerra previously was arrested on charges of misdemeanor marijuana possession in September 2009 in Aurora and received probation, records show.

A third defendant, Enrique Prado, 20, of the 300 block of South Avenue, Aurora, also is charged with arson and concealing a homicide.

According to a search warrant, Prado was present when Garnica beat Villalpando with a hammer.

Prado also spent nearly 10 months in jail before posting bond and faces up to seven years in prison on the most severe charge. He is due in court on July 17.

A message left with his defense attorney, Richard Irvin, was not immediately returned.

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