Beach Park man found guilty of gruesome Waukegan murder - Dallas News |

Beach Park man found guilty of gruesome Waukegan murder

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Eric Castillo, 26 Eric Castillo, 26
WAUKEGAN, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A Lake County jury convicted a north suburban man of a gruesome 2011 murder Friday after less than three hours of deliberations, the News-Sun is reporting.

Beach Park resident Eric Castillo, 26, faces 30 years to life because the jury also found the July 5, 2011, murder of David Campbell, 27, of Waukegan, was conducted in a brutal and heinous matter that displayed wanton cruelty.

The jury did acquit Castillo of a third count of murder that alleged the use of a firearm.

Castillo showed no visible emotion after the verdict. Members of Campbell's family declined to comment.

Campbell, 27, was lured to an auto body shop in Waukegan under the ruse of a drug deal, but when he arrived, he was beaten, robbed, tortured and killed by several defendants seeking revenge for a previous incident, according to authorities.

Prosecutors said Castillo grabbed Campbell, forced him to his knees, and helped restrain him as he was interrogated, beaten with fists and a hammer, and burned with a blowtorch on his legs and groin.

In closing arguments Friday, Newman reminded the jury they had heard the defendant say in his videotaped confession that he had held Campbell while a plastic bag was placed over his head and he was beaten, burned and killed.

"That's first-degree murder," Newman said. "What's critical is that he and anyone — anyone — in that circumstance would know it is going to cause great bodily harm or death."

Defense attorney David Winer argued throughout the trial and in closing arguments that Roberto Guzman of Waukegan, who pleaded guilty to murder in the case and was sentenced to 29 year, was the ringleader and drew Castillo into the incident.

Winer said Castillo did not know the group planned to kill Campbell, and his involvement with the group after the murder sprang from fear of Guzman.

In his videotaped confession, Castillo told police he thought they were just going to beat Campbell up, but also said "being there, and holding the guy, I felt like I was an accessory to murder."

A witness to the murder said Castillo hit Campbell, and put a plastic grocery bag on the head of the victim, who died of strangulation.

Winer attacked the credibility of the witness, stating he was under the influence of marijuana when the crime occurred and was a participant himself who is awaiting sentencing on obstruction of justice charges.

Authorities said Guzman, Castillo, Jose Horta of Waukegan and Nadia Palacios of Waukegan, mistakenly targeted Campbell as one of four men who had kidnapped Guzman and sexually assaulted Palacios during a robbery attempt in July 2011.

Prosecutors said Horta held a gun on Campbell throughout the ordeal and Palacios burned him with the blowtorch on his legs and groin.

Horta has been tried and convicted of murder, and is scheduled for sentencing March 11. Palacios has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

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