Chicago man convicted of slaying Romeoville teen
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org March 8, 2013 3:30PM
Updated: April 11, 2013 6:55AM
A Will County jury has found a Chicago man guilty of murdering an 18-year-old Romeoville man in 2007 behind a Plainfield gas station.
Ricardo Gutierrez, 23, now faces 45 years to life in prison for the crime.
Javier Barrios, 18, was shot to death Oct. 28, 2007, behind a gas station near 135th Street and Route 59.
Police arrested Gutierrez and Barrios’ ex-girlfriend, Gabriela Escutia, on first-degree murder charges two days after the shooting.
Escutia’s case has not yet gone to trial.
The jury returned their verdict Friday afternoon after more than 11 hours of deliberation.
“We’re very happy with the decision,” said Barrios’ sister, Viridiana Barrios, outside the courtroom.
“Justice was served,” said David Diaz, Viridiana Barrios’ husband.
Gutierrez is scheduled to appear in court May 9 for sentencing.
“We feel that we have very strong issues to be raised in post-trial motions and on appeal,” said defense attorney Paul Napolski. “In particular, the fact that we were denied the right to call the co-defendant to the stand, as well as autopsy photographs being sent back to the jury that were not published during the trial.”
Escutia, 24, of Joliet, remains in the Will County Jail in lieu of $5 million bond.
In their opening statements, prosecutors said Gutierrez wanted to eliminate Barrios as a romantic rival for Escutia’s affection.
Defense attorney Jeff Tomczak said Gutierrez was trying to help Escutia stand up to Barrios, who allegedly abused Escutia mentally and physically and had threatened to hurt her baby daughter.
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 had led detectives to her during their investigation of the shooting, police said.