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updated: 7/15/2014 5:12 PM

Elgin teens get 20 years for 2012 murder

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  • Ricky J. Moreno

    Ricky J. Moreno

  • Mario A. Williams

    Mario A. Williams

By Megan Swindell
Two Elgin teenagers pleaded guilty Tuesday to the June 2012 shooting death of 16-year-old Nestor Alvara

Mario A. Williams, 18, and Ricky J. Moreno, 17, were charged initially with first-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to an amended charge of second-degree murder. In exchange for their guilty pleas, Cook County Judge Thomas Fecarotta sentenced both to 20 years in prison. They must serve at least 50 percent of their sentences before they are eligible for parole.

"The state recognized what the facts were," said Moreno's defense attorney, Nils Vonkeudell. "The state realized that there were issues with a first-degree murder charge."

Although the two were 15 years old at the time of the shooting, both were charged as adults.

Williams and Moreno were facing up to 60 years in prison. Williams, who prosecutors say was the shooter, faced an additional 25 years for personally discharging a firearm during the commission of a felony.

"I'm glad that justice was served," said Williams' attorney, Cook County Assistant Public Defender Deana Binstock. "We were hoping for this offer."

The murder was the culmination of an argument that occurred at a skate park down the road from the convenience store, authorities said.

Alvarado and two friends followed the defendants from the park to the convenience store in the 800 block of Chicago Street around 7:30 p.m. June 7, 2012, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Mike Gerber.

Alvarado and his friends "began acting in a threatening manner," pursuing Williams and Moreno while yelling gang slogans and threats, Gerber said.

According to authorities, Alvarado and the others were 10 to 15 feet behind Williams and Moreno when Moreno pulled a gun out of his backpack. Moreno handed the gun to Williams, who fired two rounds, one of which struck Alvarado in the right lung.

Alvarado was placed in a vehicle driven by friends, who were called in for backup in anticipation of an altercation, Gerber said after the hearing.

He said that the vehicle drove out of the parking lot and was stopped by authorities who had heard of the shooting and called an ambulance. Alvarado was taken to St. Joseph Provena Hospital in Elgin where he was pronounced dead from a gunshot wound to the chest.

Outside the courtroom, Gerber said everyone involved had gang ties and he does not think that they were surprised to see each other at the park that day.

"These are children killing children, which is the tragedy of the whole thing," Gerber said.

At the time of his arrest, Moreno had several charges pending in juvenile court. Those cases were resolved Tuesday as part of the plea, Vonkeudell said.

Williams, who had no criminal background before his arrest, completed his high school degree during his incarceration, said Binstock, adding "I hope he will continue to be the model inmate he is."

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