Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chicago, IL: Trial nears in Addison Trail student's murder

Armando Huerta Jr. was less than a month from graduation when he was gunned down outside his family's Addison home on May 16, 2009.

This week, the Chicago man accused of killing the Addison Trail High School senior in a jealous rage faces trial in DuPage County.

Prosecutors allege 21-year-old Luis Villavicencio-Serna shot and killed Huerta, 18, because the victim had been in contact with Villavicencio-Serna's then-16-year-old girlfriend. According to court records, the girlfriend sent Huerta a text message five days before the slaying, warning “don't call or text me no more” because “my man got mad.”

Huerta, who had previously dated the girl, was shot in the leg and lower back with a .22 caliber handgun about 3:30 a.m. after an argument outside his family's apartment on the 300 block of Dale Drive. He died hours later.

At the time, authorities said they found five shell casings at the scene and located three witnesses who were riding in a Cadillac with Villavicencio-Serna and said they saw him open fire.

Investigators also interviewed the girlfriend, who said the defendant was “very jealous and did not like the victim communicating with her,” according to court records.

A day after the slaying, Villavicencio-Serna — a reputed gang member who emigrated from Mexico illegally, according to authorities — was arrested at a Chicago flea market where he worked.

In a rare step in 2009, a judge also issued a $10,000 material witness bond to ensure the girlfriend is available to testify after her father made plans to send her to Mexico amid alleged threats from Huerta's friends, who argued she intentionally fueled the rivalry.

Huerta, who was born in the United States, was described by a cousin in 2009 as a “shy guy” who loved to dance, work out and fix cars. After graduation, he had planned to vacation in Mexico.

Villavicencio-Serna is being represented by Assistant Public Defenders George Ford and Brian Jacobs, and prosecuted by Assistant State's Attorneys Mary Cronin, Romas Mockaitis and Nancy Wolfe.

Opening statements in his jury trial are set for Wednesday before Judge Daniel Guerin, with the trial expected to last roughly a week.

Both the defense and prosecution declined to comment ahead of trial. Villavicencio-Serna remains jailed on a $5 million cash bond.

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