Guilty verdict in 2017 Aurora gang murder

  • Martin Garcia Jr. faces up to 85 years in prison for first-degree murder with a firearm.

    Martin Garcia Jr. faces up to 85 years in prison for first-degree murder with a firearm.

 
 
Updated 11/5/2019 5:29 PM

A Kane County jury deliberated about four hours Tuesday before finding Martin Garcia Jr. guilty of gunning down a 34-year-old man at a former gang home in June 2017.

Garcia, 25, of Aurora, faces 20 to 60 years after his conviction for first-degree murder, plus another 25 years in prison because jurors determined he discharged the firearm that killed Rodolfo Rocha on June 10, 2017.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Garcia also was convicted of possession of a firearm by a street gang member and unlawful use of a weapon, both felonies; he is next due in court on Dec. 4 for a sentencing date to be set.

A second man, Anthony C. Medina, 26, of Aurora, also is charged with murder and is due in court next month.

In closing arguments Tuesday after a weeklong trial before Judge John Barsanti, prosecutors said surveillance video, gunshot residue, cell tower records and witness statements all put Garcia at the scene on the 1100 block of Grove Street.

Prosecutors argued that Garcia and Medina, who are both gang members, approached people on Grove shortly after midnight and asked for a lighter -- twice. The house had formerly been occupied or rented by a rival gang and Garcia wanted people there to disavow that gang.

"They think they're tough. They think they're brave and they're looking for something to do," Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Lori Anderson told jurors. "The defendant acted as judge, jury and executioner that night."

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Rocha was shot and killed and others ran from the area. Medina was arrested a short time later while Garcia, who also was accidentally shot, had his girlfriend drive him to a nearby hospital, according to prosecutors.

Garcia was wearing the same clothing at the hospital that witnesses testified to. He also was seen on a liquor store surveillance video with Medina during the night of June 9, 2017, Anderson noted.

Garcia, who wasn't arrested and charged with murder until mid-September 2017, also failed to wash the gunshot residue off his hands before he went to the hospital, Anderson said.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Kendall argued there were no fingerprints, no DNA and no footprints to tie Garcia to the murder scene.

Prosecutors played the frantic emergency call during closing arguments.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"That 911 call doesn't mean Martin Garcia did a thing," Kendall said. "It tugs at your heartstrings, but it doesn't mean Martin Garcia did a thing."

Garcia, dressed in a suit with black wire-rimmed glasses and his hair cut and parted to the side, declined Monday to testify in his own defense.

Medina, meanwhile, has been held on $3 million bail at the Kane County jail since his arrest in June 2017. He was in court briefly last week and is due back on Dec. 13. He also faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted of killing Rocha.

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