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SW Side man gets life in prison for strangling wife and mother-in-law

Robert Danno

A Southwest Side man was sentenced to life in prison Friday for strangling his wife and mother-in-law, putting their bodies in a vehicle, then setting it on fire at a suburban forest preserve in 2013.

Robert Danno, 52, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder at the Bridgeview Courthouse on Friday, according to Cook County court records.

Danno, with the help of 26-year-old Jose Fernando Martinez-Hernandez, strangled his wife, 51-year-old Mary Ann Urban-Danno, and then strangled his mother-in-law, 79-year-old Theresa Urban, inside the family home in the 5600 block of South Neenah, prosecutors said.

They put the bodies inside Urban-Danno’s PT Cruiser, drove it to a Palos Township forest preserve, and set it on fire on Sept. 21, 2013, authorities said. The car was still on fire when investigators arrived. Firefighters found the bodies after extinguishing the flames.

Judge Colleen Ann Hyland sentenced Danno to two life sentences for the killings, according to court records.

Martinez-Hernandez, a friend who had lived in the basement of the family home, is also charged with two counts of first-degree murder. He is next scheduled to appear in court Feb. 29.