Prosecutors said they will seek life in prison for one of two Waukegan men who pleaded not guilty in the “brutal” random murder of a husband and wife in Beach Park.
Timothy D. Triplett, Jr., 34, of the 2100 block of Georgetown Lane in Waukegan, was charged with six counts of first-degree murder, while Derenell D. Hill, 35, of the 1700 block of Runyard Place in Waukegan, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Hill and Triplett are charged in the killings of Mercedes Rodas, 49, and Carlos Rafael Rodas Perez, 52, both of Beach Park, who died after being shot.
The couple was found after the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Beach Park Fire Department responded on December 8 for a call of a person down in the 10000 block of West Wadsworth Road in Beach Park.
Sheriff’s deputies located Rodas and Perez in the garage of their residence with gunshot wounds, Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Lt. Christopher Covelli said.
Sheriff’s deputies attempted life-saving measures, however, they were unsuccessful. Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division conducted a thorough investigation and obtained an arrest warrant for Triplett on January 12.
Further information and evidence obtained led to detectives seeking charges against Hill in March.
The Gurnee Police Department conducted a search warrant for a separate investigation at an apartment Hill had been staying at in the 200 block of Julian Street in Waukegan.
Detectives recovered a firearm belonging to Rodas Perez, which had been stolen from the victim during the Beach Park double homicide.
Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg called the crime “heinous” and said the sheriff’s office would do everything in its power to seek justice for the victims.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said that some of his top prosecutors are working on the case.
“This calculated and brutal murder has been a top priority for the sheriff and I. And it will continue to be a priority from now until we achieve justice for the victims and their family,” Rinehart said in March.
Covelli said that the two suspects did not know the victims and detectives believe the motive was a robbery.
Triplett’s public defender, Jillian Kassel, entered not guilty pleas to six counts of first-degree murder and also told the court Triplett has decided to represent himself in the murder case after attempts to hire a private attorney failed due to lack of funds.
Triplett, who prosecutors said was the suspect that shot the victims, refused to return to his Tuesday court hearing following a break.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office filed notice that it would seek natural life in prison for Triplett if he is convicted, a spokesperson for the office said.
Triplett and Hill both remain held in the Lake County Jail on a $5 million bond each.