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Man choked, stabbed, set on fire in West Chicago murder: 3 teens charged

Three people were shot in Humboldt Park.
Sun-Times file photo

Three teenagers have been charged in the death of an 18-year-old man whose body was found burning Tuesday in west suburban West Chicago.

Before his body was discovered, 18-year-old Luis Guerrero was choked, stabbed and set on fire — before being run over with an SUV and set on fire again, the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Francisco Alvarado, 18, of West Chicago, and 16-year-old Tia Brewer of unincorporated Wheaton are each charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and concealment of a homicidal death, prosecutors said. Both were denied bail at a hearing Thursday at the DuPage County Courthouse.

A third man, 18-year-old Jesus Jurado Correa of West Chicago, was charged with concealment of a homicidal death and was ordered held on $100,000 bail, prosecutors said.

About 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, members of the West Chicago Fire Department were conducting a training exercise when they came across Guerrero’s smoldering body in the 1300 block of Joliet Street, prosecutors said.

Following an investigation by the DuPage County Major Crimes Task Force, authorities believe Alvarado and Brewer arranged to meet Guerrero earlier in the day in front of the West Chicago Public Library, prosecutors said. Alvarado approached Guerrero from behind and began choking him with a belt. At the same time, Alvarado and Brewer stabbed Guerrero multiple times in the neck.

From left: Francisco Alvarado, Tia Brewer and Jesus Correa. | DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office
From left: Francisco Alvarado, Tia Brewer and Jesus Correa. | DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office

They put Guerrero inside their Jeep Cherokee, called Correa and asked him to bring gasoline to the location where the body was later found, prosecutors said. Correa brought the fuel, saw the body and then left, seeing flames rise up behind him as he did.

While on fire, Guerrero got up and began to run away, prosecutors said. Alvarado and Brewer then ran him over with the Jeep. They brought his body back to a fire pit, lit him on fire again and put a picnic table over him.

“The vicious brutality allegedly displayed by the defendants in this case is beyond imagination,” State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said. “I can’t begin to fathom the pain that Mr. Guerrero must have endured as his life was brutally taken from him.”

An autopsy found that Guerrero had been stabbed more than a dozen times and suffered blunt force injuries, which were consistant with being run over by a vehicle, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors did not provide a motive for the brutal killing on Thursday but said the armed robbery charges were connected with the pair allegedly stealing items from Guerrero, including his backpack. A bloody knife and a screwdriver was also found.

Guerrero was previously in a relationship with Brewer and was in a relationship with Alvarado at the time of the attack, according to authorities. Brewer told investigators that Guerrero had sexually assaulted her and the attack was done in retribution. Authorities said no report was filed in the alleged assault.

Correa was first interview by investigators and directed them to a motel where Brewer and Alvarado were staying, prosecutors said at a press conference. All three defendants were taken into custody Wednesday. Their next court date was scheduled for Sept. 13.

“We are deeply grieved by the news of this heinous crime committed in our community,” West Chicago Mayor Ruben Pineda said in a statement Thursday. “We trust those responsible for this horrific disregard for the life of the victim will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and, while small comfort to those who have lost their loved one, justice will be served.”