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Videotape confession: Hug turned lethal

Ruben Contreras

Ruben Contreras

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Updated: June 10, 2013 1:19AM

“Graciela came to see me ... she shouted very loud. I hugged her, and I covered her mouth until she wasn’t breathing,” Ruben Contreras told police in recorded interview.

Contreras, 51, is on trial this week for the murder of his wife Graciela Guijarro on May 26, 2002. After her death, Contreras fled to Mexico, but was apprehended six years later. He was extradited to the United States in 2008, when his videotape confession was made to two Waukegan police officers.

.On Wednesday, April 10, jurors saw the video confession. The entire interview was in Spanish, so jurors were given English transcripts.

The day she was murdered, Guijarro told her husband that she was going to leave him, according to the transcript. Afterward, Contreras picked her up and they went out to dinner. He then brought her to Daybreak Farm Stables where he was employed as a horse groomer.

Near the entrance, his wife took her last breath, Contreras told police. What started as an embrace turned deadly.

“I covered her mouth, so that she wouldn’t yell to [sic] and attract the neighbors and the police,” Contreras told police, according to the English transcript.

Contreras told police he covered his wife’s air passages until she stopped breathing. When he knew she was no longer alive, he carried her to the river, stripped her clothes and left her body next to a river, Contreras said.

Police found Guijarro’s remains June 2002 at Camp St. Francis Forest Preserve in Waukegan near the stables.

He told police that he was telling “the truth, before God, it’s the truth,” according to the transcript.

“My soul, my heart would never let me to sleep. A nightmare all my life since then,” Contreras said, according to the transcript.

Contreras has pleaded not guilty of first-degree murder. His trial is expected to continue Thursday, April 11. He remains in custody at Lake County Jail without bond. Circuit Judge Mark Levitt is presiding over the case. If convicted, Contreras faces 20 to 60 years in prison.

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