ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Some relief tonight for the family of Isidro Duran. The final suspect charged with his murder was found guilty.
"We've been waiting for this decision for five years. It was a long wait. It was a long distance to come to the courts. It was like reliving everything since it happened”, says Duran’s daughter Marien Duran.
"I am grateful to Rockford, for all the people who have known my father, for helping and understanding what we are going through”, says Duran’s daughter.
Rafael Santos and two other men shot and killed Duran after robbing him in July 2007 while he was working as an ice cream vendor on Loomis street in Rockford. During his testimony today, Santos claimed he wasn't the shooter, but that his friend, Justin Dismuke pulled the trigger.
"This is truly justice for a family who has experienced one of the most senseless crimes this county has ever seen”, says Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato.
Friday was by far the most emotional day for the Duran family. His ice cream cart was brought into the court room as evidence. They say the trial has been tough for everyone and are grateful for the support they've received throughout the last five years.
Santos faces 45 years to life for the three counts of first degree murder. He’ll be sentenced on July 11.
Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announced today Rafael Santos (D.O.B 3-12-1989) was found guilty of Three Counts of First Degree Murder after a jury trial in front of the Honorable Judge Pumilia.
On July 15, 2007 Isidro Duran was selling ice cream from a push cart near 716 Loomis in a Rockford residential neighborhood when he was approached by Santos and his two co-defendants. The three males robbed Mr. Duran at gunpoint. As Mr. Duran fled on foot and the defendant opened fire and shot Mr. Duran in the back, buttocks and legs. Mr. Duran died as a result of the gunshot wounds he sustained during the armed robbery.
First Degree Murder is a Class M Felony with a sentencing range of 45 Years to Natural Life due to the fact that the defendant personally discharged a firearm that proximately caused death during the commission of the crime. The sentence is to be served at 100%.
Sentencing has been set for July 11, 2012 at 10:00 am in Courtroom D of the Criminal Justice Center in front of Honorable Judge Pumilia.
Contact person: Deputy State’s Attorney Joseph P. Bruscato 815-319-4700
UPDATE 6/8: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Jury deliberations are now underway in the murder trial of Rafael Santos. He's the guy accused of killing a local ice cream vendor. Today closing arguments wrapped up.
The defense called one witness today and it was Rafael Santos himself. He says he's not the shooter.
Santos is accused of killing Isidro Duran back in 2007 while he was selling ice cream on the street. Santos and his two accomplices allegedly tried to rob Duran, but today Santos testified that he wasn't the shooter and that his friend Justin Dismuke was. Dismuke has already been sentenced. Santos said Dismuke gave him the gun and Santos gave it to his girlfriend to hide.
In closing arguments today the defense said the state's witnesses weren't reliable. They said their testimony was not consistent and that they left out facts. However, the prosecution said Santos' testimony isn't reliable because he's consistently lied since his arrest.
The prosecution actually brought in Duran's ice cream cart today as evidence and some of his family left the room crying. We'll hear from a family friend tonight at ten. Santos' family was also there, but they didn't want to comment on camera. They said it's a sad situation for both families.
UPDATE 6/7: ROCKFORD (WIFR) --The man accused of murdering a well known ice cream vendor confessed to the crime on tape when he was interviewed by police back in 2007.
In court Thursday the jury watched the entire confession on video. Rafael Santos Jr. is accused of killing Isidro Duran in the street after demanding money. Also, a DNA expert testified Santos' DNA was found on the gun. Witnesses for the defense will testify Friday.
UPDATE 6/6: More testimony today in the murder trial of a man accused of killing a local ice cream vendor. One witness told the court he saw the shooter pull a gun out of his pants just moments after buying his daughter a cold treat.
Rafael Santos Jr. is on trial for Isidro Duran's 2007 murder. Santos' ex-girlfriend testified yesterday she was asked to hide his gun and bullets after the shooting. She was only 14-years-old at the time. The victim's daughter also testified. The trial is expected to wrap up before the end of the week.
UPDATE 6/5: An update on the murder trial of the man accused of shooting an ice cream vendor. Prosecutors told a jury today he had his girlfriend hide his gun.
Prosecutors say the last words Isidro Duran heard before he was shot in the back were “cash, cash, cash.” They called it an armed robbery gone bad and defendant Rafael Santos Jr. shot the fatal bullets.
Today the jury heard from police and paramedics. They came to this house on Loomis Street after people called 911 and said three black men shot an ice cream vendor in the street. The owner of the home bought his daughter ice cream just moments before. The ice cream vendor pled with the man to let him inside as he ran from his attackers.
Santos is the third suspect to be tried for the murder. Prosecutors said the suspects' girlfriends took the gun, cleaned it, and hid it, but weren't told about the murder.
UPDATE: Jury selection wrapped up Monday in the murder trial of a well-known Rockford ice cream man. Rafael Santos Jr. is accused of shooting Isidro Duran while he was selling ice cream on Loomis Street in 2007. Two other men have already been sentenced in the murder. Opening arguments begin Tuesday.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Jury selection began today for the third suspect in the 2007 slaying of a well-known ice cream vendor in Rockford.
Prosecutors say Rafael Santos, Jr., who was 17 at the time of the murder, shot and killed Isidro Duran in July of 2007 on Loomis Street.
Duran drove to Rockford from Chicago on weekends to sell ice cream. He had just finished selling fruit bars to a little girl and her father when a group of men attacked him.
When he ran, someone shot at him.
The murder sparked outrage in the community at the time - a marked event that illustrated Rockford's growing crime problem.
Two other suspects in the murder are already serving time in prison. One man plead guilty and another was found guilty by a jury last spring. They each face around twenty years in prison. Santos chose a jury trial over a bench trial at the last minute.
Opening statements will start Tuesday morning.