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Trial delayed for woman accused in blowtorch torture murder


Nadia Palacios

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Updated: February 1, 2014 6:20AM

The murder trial of Waukegan resident Nadia Palacios, 23, accused of using a blowtorch on the victim’s groin and thighs while he was being killed, has been delayed from Jan. 13 to April 14.

Palacios is one of several defendants in the torture-murder slaying of 27-year-old David Campbell, also of Waukegan.

The delay will provide more time for review of discovery items and possibly allow the trial of one of the other defendants, Eric Castillo, to precede hers.

Police said Campbell was lured by several attackers to a Waukegan body shop on July 5, 2011, tortured with a blowtorch, beaten with a hammer and strangled to death.

The murder, according to prosecutors, resulted from a case of mistaken identity.

Roberto Guzman, 25, Jose Horta, 21, of Waukegan, Castillo, 25, of Beach Park and Palacios had mistakenly targeted Campbell as one of three men who had kidnapped Guzman and sexually assaulted Palacios July 1, 2011, officials said.

Last month, a jury found Horta guilty of first-degree murder and of enhanced counts of murder while using a firearm and murder accompanied by exceptionally brutal and heinous actions in the death of Campbell.

Three masked assailants had kidnapped Guzman for drugs and money and sexually assaulted Palacios, who was with Guzman at the time, according to reports.

Palacios identified Campbell as her attacker because he wore shoes similar to those of her assailants. Guzman allegedly arranged a fake drug deal to capture Campbell, and Campbell was tortured and then strangled, police said.

Palacios and Castillo have each pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges.

A 29-year negotiated sentence was accepted for Guzman, 25, of Waukegan, in exchange for his guilty plea to first-degree murder. Horta, who prosecutors said held a gun on Campbell while the murder took place, is awaiting sentencing.

Prior to being sentenced under the negotiated plea, Guzman admitted that he helped set the murder up, but claimed he was at his mother’s house when Campbell was killed.

Police said Palacios initially confessed to the murder, eventually leading to the arrests of the other defendants.

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