A jury on Friday convicted a Beach Park man of shooting two people who were working on a car at a Waukegan residence last year, killing one who authorities said was an unintended target.
Juan C. Garibay, 43, of Beach Park, was charged in August 2021 with one count of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
He was later indicted on charges of three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of aggravated battery by discharging a firearm.
The shooting happened around 6:15 p.m. on August 26, 2021, in the 1400 block of Lorraine Place in Waukegan.
Officers arrived to find two victims with gunshot wounds in the yard of a single-family residence, Waukegan Deputy Police Chief Joe Florip said at the time.
One of the victims, a Waukegan man in his 40s, was shot in the head.
He was transported to a local hospital where he underwent surgery and is in serious condition, Florip said.
The second victim, a man in his 30s, was shot in the back and also transported to a local hospital, Florip said. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said at the time that an autopsy showed Martin Reyes Cervantes, 30, of North Chicago, died from a gunshot wound to the chest.
The Waukegan Police Department Criminal Investigations Division (CID) and Major Crime Scene Unit (MCSU) were both called to the scene.
Police learned that Cervantes and the other victim were outside of the residence when a masked gunman, who police said was identified as Garibay, arrived and opened fire on them.
Garibay fled on foot to an unknown vehicle and left the scene. Florip said that witnesses assisted in identifying him.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Jason Humke said at Garibay’s initial court hearing that police also obtained his cell phone and were able to put him within the vicinity of the crime at the time when it occurred.
Police learned that the shooting stemmed from a physical fight earlier in the week that occurred due to some type of disagreement between Garibay and the victim that survived the shooting.
“Both victims were at the garage of the residence working on a vehicle when Garibay approached and opened fire on them,” Humke said.
Florip said that Cervantes was not involved in the feud and was not the intended target. Officers located multiple 9mm casings at the scene.
Garibay surrendered to the Waukegan Police Department following the shooting.
Lake County Judge Michael Betar ordered Garibay held without bond after his arrest.
A jury trial began earlier this week and ended Friday with the jury finding Garibay guilty of one count of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery with a firearm.
Garibay faces a mandatory sentence of 45 years in prison with the possibility of being sentenced to natural life for the first-degree murder charge. He faces a sentence of six to 30 years on the aggravated battery charge.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said after the verdict that his trial team did “an amazing job” of bringing justice to the victims’ families and to the community.
“We assigned three proseuctors, two victim specialists, and an investigator to this matter because violent crimes such as this are an enormous priority,” Rinehart said.
The state’s attorney said the FBI assisted the Waukegan Police Department in conducting the investigation into Garibay, who “was trying to cover his tracks.”
“The detectives’ and agents’ diligence paid off, and our attorneys clearly explained technical evidence to the jury. We stand with these victims and all victims of gun violence. At sentencing, we will work to make sure this dangerous offender never hurts anyone again,” Rinehart said.
Garibay was on parole with the Illinois Department of Corrections at the time of the murder.
Records show he was on parole for driving on a revoked or suspended license, an offense for which he had served prison time on four separate occasions.
In 2004, Garibay was sentenced to 15 years in prison, served at 50%, on a second-degree murder charge.
A hearing is scheduled for January 17. A sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.