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CPS Student Charged With Murder For Hire Plot

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Juan Vanga

Juan Vanga, 17, has been charged with trying to hire a hitman to kill a witness to a burglary he allegedly committed. (Credit: Cook County Sheriff’s Office)

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Updated 02/16/11 – 2:58 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – A 17-year-old Chicago Public Schools student, who was already in jail for burglary, has been charged with trying to hire a hit man to kill a witness to the burglary he is accused of committing.

Juan Vanga, a junior and football player at George Washington High School, is charged with one count of solicitation of murder for hire, and one count of solicitation of murder, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.

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“ ‘I need this bitch gone,’ ” Juan Vanga told a fellow Cook County Jail inmate of the 17-year-old who was crouched in the closet when he broke into the south suburban residence in January, Asst State’s Atty. Matthew Thrun said at a bond hearing Wednesday.

Prosecutors said Vanga was being held in the Cook County Jail after being charged in January with burglarizing a home.

Last week, Cook County sheriff’s investigators found out Vanga had been talking with another inmate about the impact the death of a key witness would have on the case, according to the State’s Attorney’s office

Vanga allegedly discussed finding a way to make the death look like a “carjacking,” or having the witness “kidnapped, raped and dumped in a creek,” prosecutors said. The other inmate suggested that he could get Vanga in touch with his brother if he wanted the woman killed, prosecutors said.

Vanga wrote out his name and jail identification number on a piece of paper and asked the other inmate to give it to his brother, but the inmate instead tipped off jail authorities, prosecutors said.

The inmate then gave Vanga a phone number he said was to his hit man brother, but it really belonged to an undercover sheriff’s officer. Vanga allegedly told the undercover officer he would pay $1,500 to have the woman killed, in several different conversations, prosecutors said.

If convicted, Vanga could face 20 years in prison.

(The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.)

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