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Beach Park man sentenced to 35 years for murder, torture

See Also: Cops: Guilty conscience led to confession in mistaken ID murder

5-15-2014 Illinois:

A Beach Park man will spend 35 years in prison after assisting in the torture and murder of a 27-year-old Waukegan man wrongly accused of sexual assault.

Eric Castillo, 26, of the 38000 block of North Sheridan Road, was found guilty by a jury in February of holding down David Campbell while other people suffocated him with plastic bags and burned him with a blow torch on July 5, 2011.

Castillo must serve 100 percent of the sentence and is not eligible for parole.

Authorities said the five -- including Castillo -- were looking for revenge when they lured Campbell to the Waukegan auto-body shop on Dugdale Street through a fake drug deal.

After Campbell entered the shop's office, Castillo grabbed Campbell and held him while a second assailant hit him in the head with a hammer, authorities said.

The five assailants interrogated, tortured, and eventually killed Campbell in the garage, before dumping his body in the Penny Road Pond in unincorporated Cook County near Barrington, authorities said.

The five conspired to hide Campbell's car in Indiana, before splitting up $15,000 to $20,000 in cash Campbell had brought to the garage for the false drug deal.

Police said the attack against Campbell came after he was wrongly accused of sexually assaulting one of the female assailants five days earlier.

This is the third of four cases involving Campbell's death that resulted in lengthy prison sentences.

Jose Horta, 21, of the 300 block of Edison Court in Waukegan, was sentenced in March to 59 years in prison after he was found guilty of murder in November.

Roberto Guzman, 26, of the 1000 block of Berwick Boulevard in Waukegan, was sentenced to 29 years in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree murder in May, 2013.

Nadia Palacios, 24, of 3500 block of Windhaven Drive in Waukegan, is awaiting trial.

A fifth suspect in Campbell's murder has eluded capture. ..Source.. by Lee Filas

Man Gets 59 Years For Role In Blowtorch Murder


The man accused of holding a gun on 27-year-old David Campbell as he was tortured and killed in a north suburban Waukegan body shop in July 2011 was sentenced Thursday to 59 years in prison.

Jose Horta, 21, of Waukegan, had been found guilty by a Lake County jury in November of first-degree murder in the death of Campbell, also of Waukegan.

Judge Mark Levitt sentenced Horta to 44 years for the first-degree murder conviction and an additional 15 years under state enhancement statutes for the involvement of a firearm in the murder.

Levitt told Horta that his actions caused Campbell’s family “unimaginable suffering” as they remember the manner in which he died.

Just prior to being sentenced, Horta told the court that he felt the “guy that actually committed the crime” was never charged or tried, referring to a potential participating suspect that officials said they have been unable to identify.

But Horta also said “I’m sorry. May the Lord be with the Campbell family.”

According to police and prosecutors, Horta held a gun on Campbell while other defendants in the case briefly interrogated him, beat him with a hammer and burned him with a blowtorch after setting up a fake drug deal to lure him to the body shop on July 5, 2011.

Horta also helped dispose of Campbell’s body in the Penny Road Forest Preserve in the Barrington area of Cook County, officials said.

Horta was one of several defendants charged in the murder. Prosecutors said the group believed that Campbell had participated in the kidnapping and robbery of defendants in the case, and the sexual assault of one of them.

Assistant State’s Attorney Jim Newman said an investigation “did not turn up a shred of evidence” showing that Campbell had been involved, and that the assailants had targeted him based on the shoes he was wearing.

“What this defendant and his friends did was comparable to a vigilante mob,” Newman said.

Roberto Guzman of Waukegan pleaded guilty to murder in the case and was sentenced to 29 years in prison; Nadia Palacios, 23, also of Waukegan, accused of using a blowtorch to torture Campbell, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges and her trial is scheduled April 28. Eric Castillo, 26, of Beach Park, was convicted of first-degree murder earlier this year and scheduled for sentencing April 9.

Defense attorney Robert Ritacca had argued that Horta’s sentence should have been closer to that given to Guzman, because Guzman, although he pleaded guilty, was accused of organizing the attack and had a more extensive criminal history than Horta, who had one prior felony conviction for defrauding a drug test.

A victim impact statement from the family, read at the hearing, said that “not only did you take a son, but a father, brother and uncle,” and that the crime left the family with a “gaping emotional wound.” ..Source.. by CBS Chicago

Waukegan man tortured before being killed, police say

6-22-2012 Illinois:

The Waukegan man whose body was found in a Barrington-area pond had been tortured and killed in retribution for a crime that police say he didn't commit.

David Campbell, 27, was hit in the head with a hammer, had his groin burned by a blowtorch, then was strangled before being encased in plastic and dumped in the pond last July, authorities said.

Four people were arrested this week and charged with first-degree murder in the case. They are: Nadia Palacios, 22, of the 3500 block of Winhaven Drive, Waukegan; Roberto Guzman, 24, of the 1000 block of Berwick Boulevard, Waukegan; Eric Castillo, 24, of the 38400 block of North Sheridan Road, Beach Park; and Jose Horta, 19, of the 300 block of Edison Court, Waukegan. They are held in Lake County jail, Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Ari Fisz said.

A warrant has been issued for a fifth person also suspected of being involved in the attack.

Information released during a bond hearing Thursday showed the plot to kill Campbell was hatched by Palacios and Guzman after they were tied up during a break-in at Palacios' Waukegan home on July 1, 2011. Palacios was sexually assaulted by one of five men, Fisz said, and Guzman and Palacios heard rumors Campbell was behind the attack.

Five days later, Guzman set up a phony drug deal to lure Campbell to a Waukegan body shop, where Castillo and Horta jumped him in an office near the rear of the building, Fisz said.

Castillo knocked Campbell to the ground, while Horta pointed a pistol at Campbell after he entered the office, Fisz said. Castillo stripped Campbell of his clothes and questioned Campbell about the sexual assault, Fisz said.

When Campbell denied his involvement, Castillo hit him in the head with a claw hammer, pulled a clear plastic bag over his head and secured it with a plastic zip tie around his neck, Fisz said.

Palacios then attached Campbell's groin with a blow torch before Castillo strangled Campbell moments later, Fisz said.

Horta wrapped Campbell's body in plastic, Fisz said, and the two drove to Penny Road Pond in a Cook County forest preserve near Barrington and dumped the body.

Palacios and Guzman drove Campbell's car to northwest Indiana and abandoned it, Fisz said.

Fisz said Friday that Waukegan Police do not believe Campbell was an assailant in the sexual assault of Palacios, and the rumors Guzman and Palacios heard about his involvement were incorrect.

Guzman has been denied bail, while Castillo is held on $5 million. Horta remains behind bars on $3 million bond, and Palacios is held on $2 million bond. ..Source.. by Lee Filas

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