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updated: 7/17/2014 7:07 PM

2 years in prison for final person in 2013 hammer murder of Aurora teen

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  • Abigail Villalpando

      Abigail Villalpando

  • Enrique Prado

      Enrique Prado

 
 

An Aurora man was sentenced to two years in prison Thursday after admitting to his role in concealing the 2013 murder of Abigail Villalpando, 18, in Aurora.

Enrique A. Prado, 20, of the 300 block of South Street, was taken into custody after his guilty plea before Kane County Judge John Barsanti.

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Prado will be out of prison in about two months; under state law he can have his sentence cut in half for good behavior and he gets credit for nearly 300 days spent in jail while the case was pending.

Prado received the minimum sentence for concealment of a homicide, a felony; other more serious charges, such as arson, were dismissed.

Prado's defense attorney, Richard Irvin, said his client agreed to testify against Juan Garnica if the case went to trial and prosecutors took that into account in the plea deal.

"(Prado's) testimony was the most critical in the case against Garnica," Irvin said. "From the beginning, he was willing to tell the truth. He wasn't the one who committed the heinous act, although he did participate in covering it up."

Prado is the final person to plead guilty in the Feb. 1, 2013, murder of Villalpando.

Garnica, 20, of Aurora, pleaded guilty in June to her murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Jose M. Becerra, 22, of Oswego, spent 10 months in jail before pleading guilty to concealment of a homicide and getting 18 months probation.

Her murder was the first in Aurora since late 2011 and 2012 was the first year in which the city did not have a homicide since 1946.

According to prosecutors and court documents, Villalpando visited Garnica and Prado at Garnica's home on the 400 block of Jefferson Street on Jan. 31, 2013, and Garnica struck her up to seven times with a hammer as she peered into an aquarium.

The two rolled up her 4-foot-10, 105-pound body in a blanket, stored it in a blue container in the rafters of a garage before burning her body in a barrel, according to a search warrant.

Garnica also called Becerra, who was accused of using his pickup truck to help move Villalpando's remains to a wooded area near Montgomery.

Villapando, a West Aurora High School student, was reported missing after she failed to show up for work and her car, a 2003 Nissan Altima, was found engulfed in flames under an Aurora railroad overpass.

Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon also acknowledged Prado's agreement to testify played a role in Thursday's plea deal.

"In this particular case, we felt his truthful testimony would have been significant, an important part of the trial against Mr. Garnica," McMahon said.

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