Father accused of hiring hit man to kill witnesses against son says he was entrapped

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He wanted to hire a hit man to kill the two people about to testify against his son in a murder case.

So Euripdes Caguana, 59, called an “acquaintance” and told him about the scheme.

But the man Caguana trusted with the plan called the police, United States Assistant Attorney Peter Salib said Thursday during opening statements at Caguana’s murder-for-hire trial.

Salib told jurors that from that point on, police played along, letting Caguana lay out his plan in a series of recorded conversations that culminated in October of 2013 with a face-to-face meeting with an undercover police officer who posed as a hit man.

Salib told jurors they can expect to hear those audio recordings as well as testimony from several police officers involved in the case.

Caguana’s defense attorney, Gerardo Gutierrez, told jurors that the man who initially called the police, Jimmy Valentine, was a regular informant for the Chicago Police Department.

And that when Caguana called Valentine at the lowest point in his life, with his son’s life hanging in the balance, and spoke in extremes about the situation at hand, that Valentine opened the door for him to act.

Gutierrez told jurors that Valentine responded by telling Caguana, “You need to act on that. I got a guy” — setting into motion a situation that Caguana never would have found himself in and one Gutierrez plans to argue constitutes entrapment. “The law does not permit police informants to trap someone,” Gutierrez said.

In addition, Gutierrez painted a picture in which Valentine had a unique relationship with the Chicago Police Department, noting that his police handler once even helped him buy a car.

Caguana, of the 3700 block of West 81st Place, followed opening statements through an interpreter who translated the proceedings into Spanish.

His son, 19-year-old Travis Caguana, is currently facing murder and weapons charges in the 2011 death of another 19-year-old man. Travis Caguana is being held in Cook County Jail.

Salib showed jurors photographs of the two men who were allegedly with Travis Caguana the night of the murder and who his father allegedly wanted dead so they would be unable to testify against his son.

Gutierrez said the two were friends of his son and that Caguana had hosted them at his house on many occasions.

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