15-year-old defendant in Palatine murder case appears in juvenile court
The 15-year-old who authorities say fired the fatal shots that claimed the life of a Palatine man Feb. 1 appeared in Rolling Meadows juvenile court Tuesday.
The Palatine teen has been charged with first-degree murder in the Feb. 1 death of Jose Castaneda Jr., 20, of unincorporated Palatine.
The teen, who is in custody at Chicago's Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, wore blue sweatpants and a brown shirt with JTDC stamped on the back. He showed no emotion during the brief hearing before Cook County Judge Steven Bernstein.
The teen's mother and brother attended the hearing in the small basement courtroom along with Castaneda's mother, grandmother and several aunts.
Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Robert Kline informed the court that Castaneda family members claimed they received threats from reported gang members after the shooting, but Kline said there's no indication any threats came from the defendant.
Also charged with Castaneda's murder is 16-year-old Andre Naydenov, a freshman at Palatine High School, who prosecutors say drove the car used in the shooting. Charged as an adult because of his age, Naydenov is being held in juvenile detention on $750,000 bail. The 15-year-old's case will remain in juvenile court unless prosecutors seek to transfer the case to adult court and the judge agrees.
Prosecutors say Naydenov was driving a silver BMW with the 15-year-old on Feb. 1 when they stopped at a gas station near the Silver Lakes Apartment Complex in Palatine Township about the same time Castaneda and his friend arrived there on foot.
After Castaneda and his friend left, Naydenov and the 15-year-old followed them in the car. Naydenov later told police the younger teen believed Castaneda and his friend were rival gang members and said they should "stomp" them. Naydenov told authorities he understood "stomp" to mean hurt or kill. Prosecutors say he subsequently drove in Castaneda's direction while the 15-year-old opened the passenger door and fired multiple shots, striking Castaneda in the back.
The teen next appears in court on April 9. Naydenov appears in adult court March 7.