Fourth person charged in 'heinous' killing of West Chicago man
A fourth individual has been charged with first-degree murder in the "heinous" killing of a West Chicago man whose smoldering body was found in a fire pit Aug. 14, authorities said Saturday. Authorities also revealed the killing had been planned for about a month.
Judge Michael Wolfe denied bail Saturday for Saul Ruiz, 18, of West Chicago, who was arrested Thursday, according to Paul Darrah, spokesman for the DuPage County state attorney's office. Wolfe also denied bail for Jesus Correa, 18, of West Chicago, whose charges were upgraded to first-degree murder from concealment of a homicide.
Bail on first-degree murder charges previously was denied for Francisco Alvarado, 18, of West Chicago and Tia Brewer, 16, of unincorporated DuPage County, who is charged as an adult.
The four individuals are accused of murdering Luis Guerrero, 18, of West Chicago, whose body was found by members of the West Chicago Fire Department during a training drill. The fire pit along Joliet Street is across the street from Alvarado's house.
Authorities said Ruiz, Alvarado and Brewer arranged to meet Guerrero the evening of Aug. 13, "eventually tracking him down" at a Burger King near the West Chicago Public Library. Alvarado and Brewer stabbed and punched Guerrero while Ruiz held him down, authorities said.
The three stole Guerrero's backpack, loaded him into a Jeep Cherokee and drove to the fire pit, where they "tortured, beat and kicked Guerrero as he begged for his life," a news release said.
Correa arrived later with a container of gasoline -- for which he received a $200 payment, authorities said -- and also beat and kicked the victim, the release said.
Authorities said Brewer poured the gasoline onto Guerrero and lit him on fire. While on fire, Guerrero got up and began to run away, and Alvarado and Brewer ran him over with the Jeep, loaded him into the vehicle, drove back to the fire pit, threw him in it and lit him on fire again, authorities said.
"The facts alleged in this case are some of the most grisly and horrific I have seen in my 30 years as a prosecutor," DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said in the news release. He commended West Chicago police and the county's major crimes task force for their work.
"The tremendous pain and suffering allegedly inflicted by these defendants is inconceivable and, if convicted of this heinous crime, each of these defendants is facing a lifetime behind bars for the vicious murder of Luis Guerrero."
Alvarado and Brewer were arrested in a downtown Chicago motel, where authorities said they were preparing to flee. Police said they found the victim's belongings in their hotel room, including a bloody backpack containing a bloody knife and screwdriver.
The defendants gave police different stories about the motive for the attack, authorities said.
Brewer said it was a case of retribution because Guerrero had sexually assaulted her, but authorities said they have no record of the woman reporting such a crime. Alvarado told police he was meeting with Guerrero to buy a phone when Guerrero displayed a knife and the men began fighting, authorities said.
Alvarado and Brewer are scheduled to appear in court Sept. 13. Ruiz and Correa are scheduled to appear in court Sept. 17.
The DuPage County jail website indicates federal authorities have placed immigration holds on Alvarado and Ruiz.