86 years in prison for 2016 Elgin 'execution,' home invasion, kidnapping and chase
An Elgin man was sentenced to 86 years in prison Monday for killing a man in 2016, kidnapping his girlfriend and their baby, and leading police on a 90 mph chase.
Alberto J. Sepeda, 30, was convicted in May of first-degree murder for shooting Norbert Gutierrez, 59, twice in November 2016. He was also convicted of home invasion and aggravated kidnapping.
Kane County Judge John Barsanti said Sepeda's testimony at trial that he was defending himself from the larger Gutierrez was "illogical, unbelievable and self-serving."
Barsanti said Sepeda shot Gutierrez once and then held a gun to the top of his head as he was wounded and kneeling and pulled the trigger.
"That's not self-defense," Barsanti said. "In my view, that's an execution."
Gutierrez' wife, Yolanda, said she would continue to hold his memory close to her heart. She said Sepeda's actions affected not only her family, but his as well, including his child's life.
"There is no justice that can bring my husband back, but that's something (Sepeda) has to live with. Little did he realize he took his own life as well," Yolanda tearfully said.
Barsanti took the weekend to digest hours of emotional testimony from Gutierrez' family and Sepeda's friends and family on Friday.
Daughter Marisa Munoz, who lived there with her children, said she and they suffer panic and fear brought on by loud noises, entering the basement or hearing someone at the front door. Sepeda had barged into the home through the front door. He shot Gutierrez on the lawn, then re-entered the home and went into the basement to get his girlfriend and daughter.
"My heart split in two. One side is filled with good memories of my father. But even they cause me to cry myself to sleep, because I miss him," Munoz said.
"The other side is still filled with fear and (concern about) safety for my family."
Sepeda's mother, stepfather, aunt, brother and a family friend testified he was not a violent person. They characterized him as helpful and respectful.
"He's friendly. He's soft. He's not violent," his brother, Chad Leach, testified.
Sepeda apologized to the Gutierrezes, and said he wanted to "take responsibility for my actions." He added, "What actually happened, only God knows."
Testimony at trial revealed an intoxicated Sepeda drove to a house on the 800 block of Morgan Street where his girlfriend and daughter were living. He wanted to retrieve marijuana he believed she had taken from him.
Gutierrez told him to leave the house. The two scuffled outside. Sepeda shot Gutierrez then forced his way back in the house and left with his 25-year-old-girlfriend and baby at gunpoint.
He drove off, running through stop signs and driving through yards near two schools, before surrendering when his car broke down.
Sepeda argued he acted in self-defense, saying Gutierrez, who was two inches taller and 115 pounds heavier, had beaten him, was sitting on him and threatened to shoot him. After shooting Gutierrez in the chest, he said he extended his hand to help Gutierrez, who then stabbed him.
Sepeda plans to appeal.