Auroran guilty in 20-year-old murder
By Janelle Walker For The Beacon-News February 1, 2013 2:16PM
Mug of Michael J. Reyes, aka Lefty, born 11/16/72.
Updated: February 2, 2013 3:49PM
ST. CHARLES TWP. — A jury took just 1½ hours Friday to find an Aurora man guilty in a 20-year-old cold case murder.
Michael Reyes, now 40, was found guilty of six counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of brothers Jesus Montoya, 20, and Francisco Montoya, 18.
The brothers were found dead in the family’s conversion van on March 9, 1993.
According to family members, they had sneaked out of the house the night before with a quarter-kilogram (9 ounces) of cocaine that they intended to sell to someone they were meeting that night.
Prosecutors said Reyes killed the brothers as he robbed them of that cocaine, which he tried to sell. He later gave half to Abraham Estremera — his one-time co-defendant in the case who authorities believe was in the van with Reyes when the trigger was pulled. Charges against Estremera were later dropped.
According to Kane County prosecutors, Reyes was an early suspect in the case, based on information from the victims’ father, Jesus Montoya Sr.
Reyes was not indicted until 2007 — after the Operation First Degree Burn sweep of former Aurora gang members. He has been held on $3 million bail since then.
Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Jody Gleason said Reyes admitted his role in the murder several times over the past 20 years — to co-workers, to friends in his street gang, and to cellmates in prison.
Several former Reyes associates and fellow gang members — many facing long federal prison sentences of their own — testified during the four-day trial. Several received reduced sentences in their own cases because of their testimony in this and other cases, according to Reyes’ attorney, Julie Yetter.
Reyes could be sentenced to life in prison without parole. Sentencing is set for 1:30 p.m. April 10.
In the meantime, Reyes will be sent back to prison, where he was serving a 37-year prison sentence for an attempted-murder conviction stemming from a 2006 shooting in Aurora.