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updated: 8/13/2014 7:26 PM

Trial begins for defendant in 2010 Mount Prospect murder

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  • Edwin Paniagua

      Edwin Paniagua

 
 

Opening statements are expected Thursday in the trial of a 19-year-old charged with first-degree murder in the 2010 death of a Mount Prospect man.

Edwin Paniagua, of unincorporated Elk Grove Township, could face up to 60 years in prison if he's convicted of murdering 52-year-old Jean Louis Wattecamps, a baggage handler for American Airlines who was found bound and stabbed in his apartment on July 22, 2010.

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Authorities say Wattecamps, whose family described him as a kind and selfless friend, befriended the then-15-year-old Paniagua and a former gang member named Mark Guardiola, 41, whom he met at the Colony Apartments pool.

The night before his murder, Wattecamps bought dinner for Guardiola and several friends, prosecutors said. After dinner, they returned to Wattecamps' apartment to drink. At some point, prosecutors say Guardiola and Paniagua tied up the victim with computer cord. While Paniagua looked for items to steal, Guardiola held a knife to Wattecamps' throat and threatened him, authorities said. The attack concluded with Paniagua hitting the victim and Guardiola stabbing him multiple times in the head and torso, prosecutors said.

Guardiola pleaded guilty to first-degree murder earlier this year and was sentenced to 33 years in prison in May.

He is expected to testify against Paniagua at his trial.

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