Waukegan man tortured before being killed, police say

Updated 6/22/2012 3:42 PM
  • Nadia Palacios

    Nadia Palacios

  • Jose Horta

    Jose Horta

  • Eric Castillo

    Eric Castillo

  • Roberto Guzman

    Roberto Guzman

The Waukegan man whose body was found in a Barrington-area pond had been tortured and killed in retribution for a crime that police say he didn't commit.

David Campbell, 27, was hit in the head with a hammer, had his groin burned by a blowtorch, then was strangled before being encased in plastic and dumped in the pond last July, authorities said.

Four people were arrested this week and charged with first-degree murder in the case. They are: Nadia Palacios, 22, of the 3500 block of Winhaven Drive, Waukegan; Roberto Guzman, 24, of the 1000 block of Berwick Boulevard, Waukegan; Eric Castillo, 24, of the 38400 block of North Sheridan Road, Beach Park; and Jose Horta, 19, of the 300 block of Edison Court, Waukegan. They are held in Lake County jail, Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Ari Fisz said.

A warrant has been issued for a fifth person also suspected of being involved in the attack.

Information released during a bond hearing Thursday showed the plot to kill Campbell was hatched by Palacios and Guzman after they were tied up during a break-in at Palacios' Waukegan home on July 1, 2011. Palacios was sexually assaulted by one of five men, Fisz said, and Guzman and Palacios heard rumors Campbell was behind the attack.

Five days later, Guzman set up a phony drug deal to lure Campbell to a Waukegan body shop, where Castillo and Horta jumped him in an office near the rear of the building, Fisz said.

Castillo knocked Campbell to the ground, while Horta pointed a pistol at Campbell after he entered the office, Fisz said. Castillo stripped Campbell of his clothes and questioned Campbell about the sexual assault, Fisz said.

When Campbell denied his involvement, Castillo hit him in the head with a claw hammer, pulled a clear plastic bag over his head and secured it with a plastic zip tie around his neck, Fisz said.

Palacios then attached Campbell's groin with a blow torch before Castillo strangled Campbell moments later, Fisz said.

Horta wrapped Campbell's body in plastic, Fisz said, and the two drove to Penny Road Pond in a Cook County forest preserve near Barrington and dumped the body.

Palacios and Guzman drove Campbell's car to northwest Indiana and abandoned it, Fisz said.

Fisz said Friday that Waukegan Police do not believe Campbell was an assailant in the sexual assault of Palacios, and the rumors Guzman and Palacios heard about his involvement were incorrect.

Guzman has been denied bail, while Castillo is held on $5 million. Horta remains behind bars on $3 million bond, and Palacios is held on $2 million bond.

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