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Waukegan body shop murder suspect to be tried separately


Roberto Guzman

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Updated: February 5, 2013 6:23AM

The suspect accused of luring a Waukegan man to be brutally murdered at a body shop was in court Thursday seeking to be split from other defendants in the slaying.

Roberto Guzman, 25, of Waukegan is facing up to life in prison for his alleged role in the murder of David Campbell, 27, on July 5, 2011. Guzman, Jose Horta, Eric Castillo and Nadia Palacios are all charged with the murder.

Judge George Bridges granted the request Thursday to sever Guzman’s case from all of his co-defendants. Severing the case means Guzman will be tried separately from his co-defendants.

“We have never intended to try everyone together,” Assistant State’s Attorney Ken LaRue told the judge.

Beattie also filed a motion to suppress a recorded conversation in which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents recorded Guzman talking about disposing of Campbell’s body, LaRue said.

The DEA recorded several conversations between Guzman and another man during an ongoing narcotics investigation, according to an affidavit filed by DEA Special Agent Christopher Geer that is part of the court records in Guzman’s case. Transcripts of those recorded conversations from 2011 are part of the court file.

In a conversation between Guzman and the other man on July 3, 2011, the two talk about Palacios allegedly getting sexually assaulted.

“That’s why, dude, someone is gonna die. Swear to God, dude,” Guzman said in response to the rape allegation on the transcript.

Guzman also spoke about luring up a “black guy” with a drug deal to “get him.” Guzman called his friend to tell him that he got the guy on July 5, 2011, according to the transcripts.

These statements are among the wire recordings that the defense wants to bar from trial.

A hearing addressing this issue was scheduled for Jan. 30.

Guzman is accused of luring Campbell to a Waukegan body shop with a phony drug deal in 2011, authorities said where he was tortured with a blowtorch, beaten with a hammer and then strangled to death, authorities said.

Guzman is also accused of driving Campbell’s car to northwest Indiana with Alex Rivera and abandoning it there. Rivera was charged with obstruction of justice.

Horta is in custody at Lake County Jail in lieu of $3 million bond.

Palacios, 23, is in custody at Lake County Jail in lieu of $2 million bond. Castillo is in custody in lieu of $5 million bond. Guzman is being held without bond.

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