Weather Updates

Man charged in fatal July 4th attack also killed person on Christmas 1987

Alvaro Elizondo  |  Cook County Sheriff's office photo

Alvaro Elizondo | Cook County Sheriff's office photo

storyidforme: 52933291
tmspicid: 19421561
fileheaderid: 8824027

Updated: August 2, 2013 12:38AM

A South Side man charged in his sister’s boyfriend’s murder following a drunken July 4th attack had killed another person in similar fashion on Christmas more than 25 years ago, Cook County prosecutors said Thursday.

Alvaro Elizondo was sentenced to seven years in prison after he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the 1987 incident in which he punched and stabbed his victim to death on the Dec. 25 holiday.

Last month, Elizondo unleashed his wrath on 41-year-old Juan Zavala after Zavala tried to protect Elizondo’s sister from an intoxicated Elizondo at a family barbeque, Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Santini said.

Zavala, who died on July 20 mostly from the injuries he suffered in the Independence Day beating, was Elizondo’s sister boyfriend and lived with the family in the 4400 block of South Wolcott.

On July 4th, Elizondo came home intoxicated and started taunting his 74-year-old mother and sister to call police since they often did when he stumbled in drunk, Santini said.

Elizondo called his sister a “drunk and a whore” and charged at her in the front yard after he kicked the kiddie pool she was trying to put away, Santini said.

When Zavala told Elizondo to leave his sister alone, Elizondo, 45, allegedly punched Zavala in the face, causing Zavala to hit his head on the pavement.

Elizondo continued chasing his sister in the front yard.

But when he saw his elderly mother tending to Zavala on the sidewalk, he came back and pushed his mother, Santini said.

The senior citizen fell on her head and injured her back and wrist as a result of the shove, Santini said.

The 260-pound Elizondo then went over to Zavala, got on top of him and repeatedly punched the unconscious man in the face, authorities said.

Both Elizondo’s mother and sister begged him to stop but he allegedly refused until his sister threw bleach in his face.

Angry at his sister’s actions, Elizondo threw a barbeque grill at her, lacerating her wrist before fleeing, prosecutors said.

Zavala, who suffered a broken vertebrae, bleeding and swelling to his brain, was taken to the hospital after neighbors called 911 and flagged an officer.

Elizondo was arrested when he arrived home a short time later.

He was initially held on $500,000 bail on aggravated domestic battery and attempted murder charges.

Charges were upgraded this week.

On Thursday, Judge Israel Desierto raised Elizondo’s bail to $750,000 for the more serious murder charge.

Assistant State’s Attorney Marijane Placek argued that circumstances surrounding Zavala’s death was more in line with involuntary manslaughter — not murder.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.