Teen gets 20 years in Elgin backpack slaying
From Staff Reports September 17, 2012 4:52PM
Updated: October 19, 2012 6:15AM
An Elgin teenager pleaded guilty Monday to his role in the 2010 stabbing death of a 16-year-old Larkin High School student over a backpack.
Christopher D. Peralta, 18, of the 200 block of North Crystal Street, agreed with the Kane County state’s attorney to a sentence of 20 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections in exchange for a guilty plea to first-degree murder.
Circuit Judge Timothy Q. Sheldon accepted the plea.
According to police and prosecutors, at about midnight on May 22, 2010, Peralta and co-defendant Joshua D. Dunbar, 21, of the 600 block of Margaret Place, Elgin, approached Larkin High sophomore Edgar Guerra-Guzman near a park in the 300 block of North Jackson Street in Elgin. Peralta pulled a black ski-type mask over his face, and the pair attempted to rob Guerra-Guzman of his backpack.
Guerra-Guzman resisted, and at some point he dropped to the ground with Dunbar on top of him. Dunbar then stabbed Guerra-Guzman once in the heart. Guerra-Guzman died a short time later from the stab wound.
Peralta was charged because he participated in the commission of the robbery that prompted Guerra-Guzman’s death, prosecutors said.
Dunbar was convicted in February 2011 by a Kane County jury of first-degree murder and one count of attempted armed robbery. He was sentenced by Sheldon the following April to 25 years in prison.
According to Illinois law, Peralta must serve 100 percent of the sentence. He was given credit for at least 692 days served in the Kane County jail.
The case was prosecuted by Kane County Assistant State’s Attorneys Greg Sams and Brad Hauge.
“It is our hope that this sentence will allow Edgar Guerra-Guzman’s family to begin to find a sense of peace after his violent, senseless and tragic death,” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said in a statement issued after Monday’s sentencing.
“Mr. Peralta’s prison sentence of 20 years should send a clear message that although he did not stab young Edgar, Mr. Peralta and Mr. Dunbar planned this robbery together,” McMahon said. “Because of that, under the law, Mr. Peralta does bear great responsibility for this murder.”