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31-year sentence for baseball bat murder

Juan Vargas

Juan Vargas

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Updated: September 25, 2012 10:47AM

An Aurora man was sentenced to 31 years in prison Thursday for his role in a fatal beating with a baseball bat.

Juan Vargas, 23, of the 200 block of High Street, was one of five people charged with beating Jorge Caro to death in 2005 after Caro pretended to be in their gang and used a gang handshake during a party. The gang members decided Caro needed to punished for portraying himself as a member, Kane County prosecutors said.

Caro. 21, was kicked, punched and beaten with a baseball bat. The autopsy revealed 22 injuries to his head and face and 16 injuries to his upper body and arms. His body was left in the 600 block of North Lincoln Avenue.

Prosecutors said Vargas punched and kicked Caro. He retrieved the bat that Quentin Moore used to beat Caro in the head, prosecutors said.

No one was charged in the crime until 2007, when five men were charged as part of a huge murder sweep called “Operation First Degree Burn” that indicted 31 men in 22 cold-case homicides.

Vargas is the fourth person to be sentenced in Caro’s murder. Roman Lucio pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to 26 years. Ruben Hernandez was sentenced to 40 years after being found guilty. Max Aguilar was sentenced to 20 years for being the lookout. The case against Moore is pending. When Vargas was charged, he was already in jail, charged with the 2006 murder of Thomas Aguilar. That case is still pending. Vargas was 16 when he was arrested in that case. If convicted of both murders, he would face a mandatory life sentence. He also has pending attempted murder and mob action charges.

Caro’s former Little League coach remembered Caro as a pudgy, round-faced kid who dominated in his Aurora Little League games. He played all the positions and was nicknamed “The Babe” for his prodigious hitting talents.

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