A pair of suspects in Illinois were arrested in connection to a pre-Christmas nearly five-hour crime spree that included the beating death of a man stringing lights outside his home, police said.
Pedro Mendiola, 21, and Moises Barrios, 23, each face multiple charges ranging from murder and armed robbery to aggravated battery, among other charges.
According to police, on Dec. 14, Mendiola and Barrios drove around Chicago in a red Dodge Intrepid between around 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. and allegedly targeted at random over a dozen victims.
At around 6:30 p.m., police alleged, the pair spotted 49-year-old Jose Tellez hanging Christmas lights outside his family’s home, WNYW reported.
“They decided they were going to target him and rob him as well,” Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said. “And... the daughter heard the screams and saw out the window what was happening and tried to get her brother to help but by that time the defendants had already beaten him to death and fled the scene.”
According to prosecutors, the 14-year-old girl witnessed one of the suspects use a bat to beat her dad over the head.
Cook County Assistant State's Attorney James Murphy claimed evidence collected from the suspects' car allegedly implicated the men in the crimes, such as Mendiola’s fingerprints on a crowbar used to beat Tellez as well as the other robbery victims’ phones, credit cards and other belongings.
Barrio denied he was involved in the scheme but allegedly admitted he drove the car used in the robberies, prosecutors said.
Mendiola, meanwhile, put the blame on Barrios and said he only went along with the robberies because “Christmas was around the corner and he had no money for his kids,” prosecutors claimed in court.
Both men were being held without bail.
Tellez’s niece recalled at a recent vigil that the victim was “someone you always relied on.”
“He loved to dance and parties, and was a very funny person,” she added.