Man gets 68-year sentence for slaying Romeoville teen
BY JANET LUNDQUIST firstname.lastname@example.org July 10, 2013 5:18PM
Ricardo Gutierrez | photo from Will County Sheriff's office
Updated: August 12, 2013 11:48AM
A 24-year-old Chicago man will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars for the 2007 murder of a Romeoville teenager in Plainfield.
Ricardo Gutierrez was sentenced Wednesday to 68 years in prison by Will County Judge Carla Alessio Policandriotes. He must serve the entire sentence.
Prosecutors say Gutierrez shot Javier Barrios, 18, to death on Oct. 28, 2007, behind a gas station near Route 59 and 135th Street.
Defense attorneys Jeff Tomczak and Paul Napolski said Gutierrez was trying to help his girlfriend, Gabriela Escutia, 24, of Joliet, stand up to Barrios. They claimed Barrios abused Escutia mentally and physically and had threatened to hurt her baby. Escutia also has been charged with murder in the case.
Barrios’ sister, Virdinia Barrios, said Wednesday her brother’s violent death has traumatized her entire family.
“No words can describe what this careless man has done to my family,” she said. “Ricardo Gutierrez has not only taken the life of someone so precious away from us that can never be replaced, but has also taken our lives with him.”
Before he was sentenced, Gutierrez said he wanted to apologize to Barrios’ family.
“Can I look at them?” he asked the judge, referring to Barrios’ sister and mother, who sat in the courtroom gallery. Policandriotes said no.
“I never meant to hurt them. I just want to say I’m very sorry,” Gutierrez said.
Policandriotes noted Gutierrez’s juvenile record of criminal activity, and that Gutierrez did not take advantage of services that would have helped him get his life on track. She also mentioned that he earned a GED while he has been in the county jail.
“It didn’t have to happen,” Policandriotes said before she imposed her sentence, looking at Gutierrez.
After the hearing, Barrios’ sister and mother declined to comment on the sentence.
“I don’t think he should’ve been punished this way,” said Gutierrez’s brother, Manuel Garcia.
During Gutierrez’s jury trial in March, witnesses said that they heard shots ring out in the late afternoon near the gas station, saw a man stagger into a field south of the station and collapse, and watched his assailants drive away.
Prosecutors say Escutia shot Barrios once in the chest while he sat in his vehicle at the gas station, while Gutierrez shot him twice from behind when he started to run away.
Barrios was pronounced dead at the scene.
After shooting Barrios, prosecutors said, Gutierrez and Escutia drove back to Chicago together and went to a movie.
Earlier during the month of the slaying, Escutia filed a petition for an order of protection against Barrios, a record that led detectives to her during their investigation of the shooting, police said.
Tomczak plans to file a motion to reconsider the sentence.
“Phase two begins now,” Tomczak said. “This is a case, truly, where the appellate court will be wrestling with dozens of issues that I think will be significant.”
Before Gutierrez’s sentencing hearing began Wednesday afternoon, Policandriotes denied a motion for a new trial submitted by defense attorneys and granted a motion from prosecutors and Escutia’s attorney, Chuck Bretz, to quash a subpoena Tomczak had filed for jail phone records.
Gutierrez’s attorneys wanted to hear a phone call Escutia placed in May to Gutierrez’s mother, during which Escutia allegedly told her she would have testified during Gutierrez’s trial, except her attorneys threatened to withdraw from her case if she did.
Policandriotes noted Escutia had exercised her right to remain silent and not incriminate herself in Gutierrez’s case, and said she did not believe the post-verdict phone call was relevant to Gutierrez’s case.
Bretz said he could not imagine a circumstance where he would have advised Escutia to testify in Gutierrez’s case.
Escutia is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 9 to be given a date for her murder trial.