Weather Updates

Ex-cellmate says suspect spoke about Aurora murders

Mug Michael J. Reyes akLefty born 11/16/72.

Mug of Michael J. Reyes, aka Lefty, born 11/16/72.

storyidforme: 43857715
tmspicid: 16143601
fileheaderid: 7264252

Updated: March 2, 2013 11:39AM

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP — In the 10 days that Craig Renzelman shared a prison cell with Michael J. Reyes, Reyes spoke often about the crimes for which he was accused, Renzelman testified in Kane County Court Wednesday.

Reyes, 40, is charged with murder in the shooting deaths of Aurora brothers Jesus and Francisco Montoya in March 1993. His trial on those charges is expected to wrap up Friday morning following four days of testimony from police and some of his former associates.

According to Renzelman, his 2008 prison roommate, Reyes “told me straight up he was there for murdering the Montoya brothers.”

In addition, Reyes said he had called the brothers to meet up with him for a drug deal “and he told me he shot them five times with a .45,” Renzelman testified.

Reyes told him he hoped one-time codefendant Abraham Estremera would “take the fall” for the murder, as Estremera was already serving a life sentence in federal prison on drugs and weapons charges, Renzelman said.

Renzelman was being held in the Stateville Correctional Center on a conviction for criminal sexual abuse. He said walking into the 8-by 6-foot cell he shared with Reyes “was the scariest moment of my life.”

Renzelman said he lied about why he was there, telling Reyes he was in on a marijuana conviction, not a sex charge. Reyes told him he was an enforcer for his street gang, Renzelman said.

Once Renzelman was transferred to another prison, he said he contacted corrections officials and told them Reyes’ story “because it was the right thing to do.”

Other testimony on Wednesday included ballistic results showing that all of the shots that struck the Montoya brothers came from one gun, and DNA and fingerprint results.

No DNA results were found on an LA Raiders baseball cap found in the white conversion van where the bodies were found, or from a fast food cup found at the scene, according to testimony from crime lab officials. DNA was found on two beer cans found in the van, but those did not match Reyes or the two victims, officials said.

The state is expected to wrap up its case Thursday, and the case could go to the jury by Friday morning.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.