Even if a person is already in jail serving out a sentence for a felony crimes conviction, he or she can be indicted for other crimes, and may go through a criminal trial. While the statute of limitations may run out for some crimes while a person is serving a life sentence, a murder may be prosecuted at any time. Incarcerated persons who have committed additional crimes cannot count on the statute of limitations to run, or the fact that they are already in jail, to avoid being prosecuted.
The trial of an Illinois man who is already serving out a life sentence for a double murder began this week on charges of first-degree murder and concealment of a homicide. According to The Chicago Tribune, 58-year-old Aurelio Montano of Aurora, Illinois, is accused of killing his wife, Maria Guadalupe Montano, in 1990. Ms. Montano went missing in July of that year and has never been found. However, a beat up rug was excavated from a horse farm in Naperville, which is thought to be from the Montano’s home. Prosecutors allege that Mr. Montano strangled Ms. Montano, and then wrapped her in the rug in order to transport her body to the horse farm for burial.
So far, prosecutors have been able to build up their case using several pertinent facts. First, Mr. Montano has connections to the farm where the rug was found because his brother worked there. Second, a scent-detection dog was able to detect that the rug had traces of human remains on it. Finally, Mr. Aurelio and Ms. Aurelio’s daughter, Maribel Montano Barajas testified that she recognized the rug as being one that had been in her family’s home. Although she was only ten years old at the time of her mother’s disappearance, she testified that she saw her mother’s purse and wallet at the home after her father had told her that Ms. Montano had run away with another man. She also testified that the rug was not in the family’s home when she and Mr. Montano moved out about nine months after her mother disappeared.
Ms. Barajas further testified that her mother and father often argued and that her father disapproved of her mother’s wardrobe. Mr. Montano allegedly believed that Ms. Montano was cheating on him, which may have been a motive in her killing.
As in Mr. Aurelio’s case, a first-degree murder conviction may bring with it a sentence of life imprisonment. However, the crime and consequences of concealment of homicidal death are likely less well-known. Under 720 ILCS 5/9-3.4, a person commits concealment of homicidal death by hiding the death of another person while knowing that that person died by a homicide. The statute specifically provides that the crime of concealment of homicidal death may be charged alongside a murder charge. Concealment of a homicidal death is a Class 3 felony, for which a jail term of between 2 and 5 years may be imposed.
If you have been charged with violating Illinois criminal laws, you should immediately speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact an attorney at Goldman & Associates today for a confidential consultation.