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Man Gets 48 Years For Kidnapping, Killing Berwyn Landlord In 2010

Keith Watts (Credit: Chicago Police)

Keith Watts (Credit: Chicago Police)

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CHICAGO (STMW) – One of three men accused of kidnapping and killing a west suburban landlord who’d been showing one of them a Lawndale apartment has been sentenced to 48 years in prison.

Judge Evelyn Clay on Tuesday sentenced Keith Watts of Chicago to 48 years, according to Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokesman Stephen Campbell.

Watts was one of three men charged with murder, attempted murder, kidnapping and aggravated assault for the Dec. 11, 2010, kidnapping and murder of Francisco Favela, 45, of Berwyn.

Favela was found fatally bludgeoned and stabbed in his own car in the 1100 block of North Springfield, prosecutors said.

Also charged were Darnell Stokes of Justice, and Jeremy Borders, 36 at the time, of Chicago.

Borders is awaiting trial and will next appear in court on May 15 before Judge William Hooks, Campbell said.

Stokes was 41 when he died of cancer in the Cook County Jail in October 2013, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

The series of events leading up to the murder started about 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 11, when Favela met Stokes to show him an apartment in the 2200 block of South Keeler, prosecutors said when Watts, 34 at the time, appeared in bond court in January 2011.

Another man was also in the apartment at the time, doing work for Favela, prosecutors said.

At some point, Borders and Watts entered. Borders put a gun to the worker’s head and told him not to move, prosecutors said, then bound him with duct tape and dragged him to the bathroom.

When the worker tried to free himself, prosecutors said, Borders hit him in the head with a handgun and kicked him.

Stokes and Watts then demanded $500,000 in ransom money from Favela, and when he refused to pay, he was beaten, prosecutors said.

Favela’s wrists and ankles were duct-taped and he was taken out of the apartment, but Favela’s worker was able to free himself and call police.

Favela’s family later received a call demanding $500,000, prosecutors said. Police used cell phone records to locate all three suspects, and those records placed all three near the scene of the crime.

Borders then led police to a garage and the car in which Favela’s body was found, prosecutors said.

In the garage, investigators also found a garbage can stamped with the address of a building in the same block as the apartment where Favela had been kidnapped.

An autopsy found Favela died of blunt head trauma and stab wounds.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)