Prosecutors rest case in 2016 Elgin murder, kidnapping trial

  • Alberto J. Sepeda

    Alberto J. Sepeda

 
 
Updated 5/9/2018 7:20 PM

Kane County prosecutors Wednesday rested their case against an Elgin man accused in 2016 of forcing his way into a home on the city's near west side to see his girlfriend and their child and in the process shooting a killing a 59-year-old man.

Alberto J. Sepeda, 29, is on trial for first-degree murder, home invasion and aggravated kidnapping from a Nov. 13, 2016, attack at a home on the 800 block of Morgan Street that left Norbert Gutierrez dead from two gunshot wounds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

According to prosecutors and police, an intoxicated Sepeda went to the home about 4 a.m. and forced his way in the front door after a women there cracked it open to see who was there.

Sepeda demanded to see his girlfriend, 25, and their 1-year-old child, who were staying at Gutierrez's home. Gutierrez pushed Sepeda out of the house, and as Gutierrez's wife called 911, she heard a shot.

Sepeda shot Gutierrez once on the chest and then a second time in the head, and forced his girlfriend and the child into his car, taking police on a chase through the city and yards near Highland Elementary School and Kimball Middle School before surrendering at Melrose and Oakley avenues, according to police.

Officers testified Wednesday to finding: broken parts of Sepeda's gray Ford Fusion in parking lots near the schools; a 30-round extended magazine and holster Sepeda threw out of his car during the chase; and a .40-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun -- with a round in the chamber -- along with a spent shell casing in Sepeda's car.

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David Welte, a firearms examiner at the state police crime lab in Rockford, testified markings and other characteristics showed the slug recovered from Gutierrez's body was fired from a gun recovered from Sepeda's car.

Dr. Mitra Kalelkar, a forensic pathologist who performed Gutierrez's autopsy, said he was shot once in the left side of the chest and a second time from very close range in the top of his head. The second bullet killed him within a minute, she testified.

Defense attorney Gary Payton said his client plans to testify Thursday.

As part of a motion to dismiss the charges -- which Judge John Barsanti denied -- Payton argued Sepeda was let into the house and he was defending himself against the 265-pound, nearly 6-foot-tall Gutierrez, who pummeled Sepeda, who is listed in court records as 5 feet 10 inches tall and 150 pounds, once they were outside.

Payton also argued Sepeda's girlfriend did not verbally object to leaving with Sepeda, so it wasn't kidnapping either.

"(Gutierrez) was the aggressor to my client. He threw my client up against the wall," Payton argued. "He didn't shoot (Gutierrez) until he continued and continued to strike my client."

If convicted of first-degree murder, Sepeda faces 45 years to natural life in prison.

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