West Chicago man now faces murder charge in February stabbing

A West Chicago man originally charged with aggravated battery for a Feb. 26 stabbing faces a murder charge after the victim died, authorities said Wednesday.

Joel Munoz-Valdez, 24, of the 700 block of South Oak Street, now is charged with first-degree murder along with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and possession of methamphetamine, the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office said in a news release.

DuPage Judge Jeffrey MacKay raised Munoz-Valdez's bail to $2 million from the $100,000 originally set on March 1.

Authorities say Munoz-Valdez approached Luis Lopez outside a home on the 800 block of Brentwood in West Chicago around 10:40 p.m. What started as an argument turned physical and Munoz-Valdez pulled a knife from his pocket and stabbed Lopez several times in the back and left leg before fleeing, authorities say.

Munoz-Valdez was apprehended three days later in Naperville.

Lopez, meanwhile, was taken to an area hospital where he died March 6, having never regained consciousness.

Munoz-Valdez's next court appearance is scheduled for April 8 in front of Judge MacKay for arraignment.

"I offer my condolences to the family and friends of Luis Lopez as they mourn this senseless loss of life.," DuPage State's Attorney Robert Berlin said in a written statement.

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