2nd man charged in Christmas killing of state’s witness in murder case

George Reyes, 19, was taken into custody on a warrant charging him with the murder of Sebastian Serrano on Dec. 25, 2020 in Gage Park.

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The Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

Sun-Times file

Bail was denied Wednesday for a second man charged in the killing of a state’s witness in a murder case.

George Reyes, 19, was taken into custody a day earlier on a warrant charging him with the murder of Sebastian Serrano on Dec. 25, 2020 in Gage Park.

Serrano was found shot multiple times that day in the 3300 block of West 52nd Street by officers responding to a ShotSpotter alert. He later died.

Reyes was taken into custody in the following month on an unrelated drug possession charge and allegedly told investigators that he had information about Serrano’s murder.

Reyes gave them the name of a man he said was the shooter, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said, but investigators learned that the man Reyes named had been locked up in a state prison when Serrano was killed.

George Reyes

George Reyes

Chicago police

At the time, investigators had already identified 20-year-old Andres Giler as a suspect in Serrano’s murder by looking through Serrano’s SnapChat history.

The records police obtained showed Giler had been exchanging messages with Serrano, including setting up a meeting with him at the time and location where the murder took place, Murphy said.

Detectives then obtained Giler’s SnapChat records, which placed him at the scene of the shooting, Murphy said.

Suspicious that Reyes’ was also involved, detectives obtained his SnapChat records as well, which including a recording he made of a phone call with another man, Antonio Reyes, about two weeks before Serrano was killed, Murphy said.

Antonio Reyes, 18, who is not related to George Reyes, was in custody at the Cook County Jail on a charge he killed a 26-year-old man on the South Side at the time of the call, Murphy said. Antonio Reyes could be heard in the recording telling George Reyes to “take care of” Serrano, who he said was a witness in the murder case against him, according to Murphy.

George Reyes also made another SnapChat recording about two weeks before Serrano was shot that showed him following Serrano’s car, and also sent messages to his girlfriend saying he had “almost got” Serrano, Murphy said.

When Andres Giler was taken into custody in July, he told investigators George Reyes was the shooter and described Reyes initially trying to get a 13-year-old boy to kill Serrano, Murphy said.

Giler was charged with Serrano’s killing later that month and is currently being held without bail, court records show.

A CPD fugitive unit attempted to place Reyes into custody a month later, leading to a high-speed chase that ended with Reyes crashing in the north suburbs and cocaine being found in his vehicle, Murphy said.

Reyes was hospitalized with a broken femur and was not placed in custody by Round Lake police on a drug charge because he was incapacitated; he left the hospital before Chicago police could finish their investigation and the warrant was issued, Murphy said.

Reyes has no prior convictions, Murphy said.

Andres Giler

Andres Giler

Chicago police

Giler couldn’t be a credible witness against Reyes because he “clearly would point the finger” at someone else for a killing he’s charged in connection with, Reyes’ defense attorney Richard Feinberg argued.

Reyes was working as a landscaper at the time of his arrest, the attorney added.

Judge Kelly McCarthy additionally ordered Reyes to have no contact with any witnesses in the case.

He was expected back in court Feb. 22.

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