A teenage couple are accused of first-degree murder after authorities allege they strangled and stabbed the girl’s former boyfriend and set him on fire before running him over with a Jeep.
Tia Brewer, 16, who lives near Wheaton, Ill., and Francisco Alvarado, 18, of West Chicago, Ill., were ordered held without bond in the killing of Luis Guerrero, 18, of West Chicago, whose smoldering body was found Tuesday in an outdoor fire pit not far from Alvarado’s residence, authorities say.
A third man, Jesus Jurado Correa, 18, described as a friend of Alvarado, was charged with concealment of a homicide. Correa, at Alvarado’s request, bought the gasoline used to ignite the victim, DuPage County Assistant State’s Attorney Tim Diamond said.
Brewer and Alvarado also face charges of armed robbery and concealment of a homicide.
“The facts alleged in this case are brutal and heinous and evidence of an unconscionable degree of depravity,” State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said at a news conference following the bond court hearings.
Brewer had previously dated Guerrero, and had told Alvarado that Guerrero had raped her, according to Berlin. But the prosecutor said authorities have not found any indication Brewer ever reported such an assault to authorities.
Alvarado and Brewer lured Guerrero by arranging to meet him after midnight Tuesday near the West Chicago Public Library, officials said. Alvarado approached the victim from behind and strangled him with a belt, and he and Brewer then stabbed Guerrero more than a dozen times in the neck, authorities allege.
The pair then drove Guerrero to Joliet Street in West Chicago and called Correa to bring gasoline, officials said, adding that Correa, who was at a movie with his girlfriend, stopped at a gas station and filled a water bottle with fuel, Diamond said, which he brought to Joliet Street and then left.
The gas was poured over Guerrero and was ignited, but Guerrero “got up and began running around,” Diamond said. Alvarado and Brewer then got into the Jeep and ran over Guerrero before dumping his body again in the fire pit and relighting it on fire, authorities said, adding that police found blood on the Jeep’s undercarriage.
Around noon Tuesday, West Chicago firefighters conducting a training exercise in the area found Guerrero’s smoldering remains, Diamond said. A picnic table had been placed over the body, the prosecutor said.
During the investigation, Alvarado’s parents, who live nearby, approached police at the scene and alerted them to blood stains in their Jeep, officials said.
The investigation led to Correa, who authorities said confessed to his role, which included taking Brewer and Alvarado to the train station. The couple were arrested Wednesday at a motel in Chicago, and police found Guerrero’s backpack among their possessions, along with a knife and a screwdriver believed to have been used in the attack, prosecutors said.
All three of the accused will be back in court Sept. 13. Alvarado and Brewer could face life in prison if convicted on the most serious charges, Berlin said.
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