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Second Man Convicted Of 2009 Killing In Joliet

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Jesus Zambrano (Credit: Will County Sheriff)

Jesus Zambrano (Credit: Will County Sheriff)

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JOLIET, Ill. (STMW) – One of two men who gunned down the boyfriend of a woman one of them had a sexual relationship with was convicted of murder Tuesday night.

A jury deliberated for about six hours before finding Jesus Zambrano, 23, guilty of one count of first-degree murder for killing Robert Gooch on May 22, 2009, according to the Will County State’s Attorney’s office. Pedro Sanchez was already convicted of first-degree murder and is serving a 61-year prison sentence.

Sanchez and Zambrano, both of Joliet, confronted Gooch at the Joliet apartment of his girlfriend, Ellissa Hinton, according to trial testimony. Hinton testified she would have sex occasionally with Sanchez, but that she didn’t want to leave Gooch, a statement from prosecutors said.

Hinton testified she and Gooch had watched the NBA playoffs and gone to bed on the night of the murder. Later that evening, Gooch answered the buzzer while she remained in the bedroom. She testified she heard Sanchez’s voice in the living room and someone saying “my girl” just before she heard a single gunshot, the statement said.

She went to the living room to find Gooch lying on the floor bleeding from the head. An autopsy revealed he died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Gooch’s two young children were sleeping on a sofa bed in the living room at the time, according to prosecutors.

“In a despicable act of brutality, Zambrano and Sanchez gunned down an unarmed man while his two children were sleeping in the same room,” State’s Atty. James Glasgow said in the statement. “Thanks to a first-rate investigation by the Joliet Police Department and top-notch trial work by two fine prosecutors, it will be a long time before Jesus Zambrano can even begin to think about walking our streets.”

Prosecutors entered into evidence security tapes from the apartment complex showing Sanchez and Zambrano arriving at the parking lot, getting out of the vehicle and then running from the building back to the car, according to prosecutors. A witness testified he saw Zambrano retrieve an object from under the hood of Sanchez’s car before the two entered the apartment complex.

The gun was never recovered and there was no direct evidence to show whether Sanchez or Zambrano pulled the trigger. However, prosecutors argued they were both are accountable, regardless of which fired the weapon.

He faces 35-75 years in prison when he is sentenced on Oct. 23.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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