The ringleader of four people accused of beating and torturing to death a Lake County man pleaded guilty to murder today.
Roberto Guzman, 25, of Waukegan, described in a statement in court how he planned the revenge killing of fellow Waukegan resident Daavid Campbell, 27, believing Campbell had been responsible earlier for kidnapping Guzman and sexually assaulting one of his associates.
But prosecutors contend Campbell was not involved in those alleged crimes.
“We believe they killed the wrong guy,” Lake County State’s Attorney Ken LaRue said.
Campbell’s body was found in a pond in South Barrington in July 2011.
Guzman hatched a plan with four other people to lure Campbell to a Waukegan garage under the premise that they wanted to do a drug deal, LaRue said. Campbell arrived with about $25,000 on him, LaRue said.
Prosecutors allege that one of the other men – Eric Castillo, now 25, of Beach Park -- held Campbell down and put multiple plastic grocery bags over his head while another, unknown accomplice hit Campbell in the head multiple times with a hammer, LaRue said. A third accomplice, Nadia Palacios, now 23, of Waukegan, pulled down Campbell’s pants and used a blow torch to burn is legs and genitals, authorities allege. Castillo is also accused of strangling Campbell, LaRue said.
After Campbell died, his body was taken to the Penny Road Forest Preserve in Cook County where it was dumped in a pond.
Castillo, Palacios and another man authorities allege was involved -- Jose Horta, 20, of Waukegan – are also charged with murder in the case and await trial.
Guzman and Castillo, Palacios and Horta were charged almost a year after Campbell died. The fourth person has not been arrested. Authorities said a break came when Palacios was taken into custody during an investigation of shots fired from a vehicle in Waukegan. During questioning by police, she gave them information about the murder, LaRue said.
Additionally, a DEA wiretap on another suspect picked up phone calls made by Guzman, which implicated him in this crime, LaRue said.
Thomas Glasgow, Guzman’s attorney, said that there is never a happy ending in a murder case.
“He goes to jail, and the guy’s still dead,” Glasgow said.
Guzman was sentenced today to 29 years in prison.
“Justice has been served today,” said Kathryn Campbell, Daavid Campbell’s oldest sister. Daavid Campbell was the youngest of 18 children and had a great smile, she said. “We are finally starting to get closure on my brother’s murder.”
The trials for the three others accused in the slaying are all currently scheduled for June 17.
Campbell's first name previously had been reported incorrectly as David.