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Judge Upholds 59-Year Sentence In Torture-Murder Case

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Jose Horta (Credit: Waukegan Police)

Jose Horta (Credit: Waukegan Police)

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WAUKEGAN, Ill. (STMW) – A Lake County Judge has denied a motion to reduce the 59-year sentence given to a Waukegan man convicted of murder in the 2011 torture death of David Campbell in a Waukegan body shop.

A defense attorney for Jose Horta, 21, had argued that his client’s sentence stood out as unusually harsh in comparison with other defendants convicted in the case.

But after hearing arguments on the motion earlier this month, Judge Mark Levitt denied the motion Wednesday, maintaining that the sentence is valid.

A jury convicted Horta of first-degree murder for being a participant in the torture-murder of 27-year-old David Campbell, also of Waukegan.

According to police and prosecutors, Horta held a gun on Campbell while other defendants in the case interrogated him, beat him with a hammer, burned him with a blowtorch and strangled him after setting up a fake drug deal to lure him to the body shop on July 5, 2011.

Following his conviction, Levitt sentenced Horta to 44 years for the first-degree murder conviction and an additional 15 years under state enhancement statutes for the involvement of a firearm in the murder.

Ritacca had argued that other defendants in the murder case, who have faced trial or pleaded guilty, were sentenced to significantly lower terms. He also said Horta was an observer to the murder and not a participant.

Roberto Guzman of Waukegan pleaded guilty to murder in the case and was sentenced to 29 years in prison. Eric Castillo, 26, of Beach Park, was convicted of first-degree murder earlier this year and was sentenced to 35 years.

Nadia Palacios, 23, also of Waukegan, accused of using a blowtorch to torture Campbell, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder earlier this week under a negotiated deal and is awaiting a sentencing hearing, where she faces a term of between 20 and 60 years in prison.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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