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Man testifies he saw youth fatally attack teen

Updated: February 20, 2013 4:42PM

Daniel Villeda was standing in front of his Southwest Side home with his 3-year-old child and dog when he saw a group of bat wielding youth beating and kicking “something” on the ground across the street.

“I went inside and called police,” Villeda said Wednesday at the start of the bench trial of two purported gang members charged with brutally murdering 15-year-old Alex Arellano because he refused to “throw up a crown” in support of the Latin Kings.

Alex had just brought a cake and was heading to a friend’s birthday party with others in the 3000 block of West 54th Place when he was accosted by the gang members on bicycles who asked him “what he was about” that afternoon in May 2009, Cook County prosecutors said.

When Alex insisted he was about “nothing,” it started a deadly chain reaction, in which the teenager was beaten with baseball bats, run over by a car, shot in the head and then set on fire, assistant state’s attorney John Maher said.

On Wednesday, Villeda said after he saw the group pound their bats, he saw Jovanny Martinez walk by with the others who quickly took off their shirts.

Martinez kept his shirt on, Villeda said. That shirt was hiding the gun used in Alex’s murder as well as gunshot residue, Maher said.

While Villeda said he identified Martinez in a line-up and photo array, he admitted Wednesday that he never identified his co-defendant Erick Ortiz.

Martinez, 19, and 19-year-old Ortiz’s bench trial will resume before Judge Maura Slattery Boyle on Monday.

Two others — Alisa Campos, 25, and Edgar Silva, 21, — have already pleaded guilty to their roles in Alex’s murder.

Campos is currently serving a 23-year-old prison sentence.

Silva, who is expected to testify against Martinez and Ortiz, is in the midst of serving a 20-year prison sentence.

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