Prosecutors: 'Extraordinary jealousy' prompted 2017 fatal Elgin beating, stabbing
A Carpentersville man was filled with such "extraordinary jealousy" of his ex-girlfriend's lover that he conspired with three others to ambush, beat and stab the victim to death on Elgin's far west side, prosecutors said Monday.
Carlos F. Lopez, 31, is on trial for first-degree murder in the death of Bayron Cruz, 36, of South Elgin, who was found beaten and stabbed 16 times with a steak knife in the early morning hours of Aug. 12, 2017, on the 1100 block of Jansen Farm Drive.
In opening statements, Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Joe Cullen outlined Lopez's motivations and preparations in the attack, noting Lopez and his ex-girlfriend had two children, ages 5 and 7, but had broken up a year earlier. Cullen said surveillance video will show a set of four steak knifes being purchased at Walmart the day before the killing. He said Lopez coordinated with his current girlfriend, Ivette Rodriguez, 23, of Carpentersville, to be the getaway driver and two Elgin men as muscle.
Cullen also noted Lopez admitted to the murder in a recorded Elgin police interrogation.
Cullen said Lopez recruited Gabriel M. Lopez, 28, who is not related, and Michael Giacomino, 33, and paid them a "couple hundred dollars each" to beat Cruz, saying Cruz owed Carlos Lopez money and had had relations with a woman Lopez claimed was his wife.
The three men waited as Cruz and the woman met in the back of a car, then yanked out Cruz as he was having sex, Cullen said.
"The defendant's two friends kicked and punched the victim. Then, the defendant pulled out a knife and stabbed Mr. Cruz at least 16 times," said Cullen, who added Cruz died in an Elgin police officer's arms at the scene.
Kane County Assistant Public Defender Cecily Carlin said Carlos Lopez had been in love with the woman since he was 19, "was no longer part of the family he loved," and asked in July 2017 to reconcile.
Carlin acknowledged Carlos Lopez and two others did confront Cruz, but it was to tell Cruz, who was married and having an affair with a subordinate, to stop.
Instead, Carlin said "emotions got the better of" Carlos Lopez when he opened the car door and saw his ex-girlfriend and mother of his children naked and having sex with Cruz. "Pay attention and imagine the situation that Carlos found himself in," Carlin told jurors.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Carlos Lopez faces a sentence ranging from 20 to 60 years in prison.
Giacomino is held at the Kane County jail and his trial is set for April 11.
Gabriel Lopez pleaded guilty in August 2019 to murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Rodriguez pleaded guilty in March 2018 to a reduced charge of obstruction of justice and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. She is expected to testify in the trial.