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Alleged Latin Kings Member Guilty of Murdering Mistaken Teen Rival

Alleged Latin Kings member Shalimar Santiago was found guilty of murder and aggravated battery for reportedly ramming into an SUV he thought contained gang rivals in 2009, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Santiago reportedly slammed into the SUV twice before sideswiping the vehicle because he thought the SUV contained members of rival gang the Latin Dragons. The SUV he attacked, however, was filled with a group of young men and women who had gotten lost on the West Side after a night of clubbing.

Seven passengers were injured, and 18-year-old Stephanie Herrera, a student at University of Illinois at Chicago, tragically lost her life.

Although Santiago’s attorneys argued that the case was nothing more than a tragic accident, jury members found him guilty on both charges after two hours of deliberation.

“This was no accident,” Assistant State’s Attorney Mark Shlifka said during the trial. “This was an act of revenge, retaliation and gang nonsense.”

Under Illinois law, aggravated battery can be charged against a person for several reasons, including causing great bodily harm to another or committing a battery in a public location. Aggravated battery can range from a class 3 felony to a class X felony depending on the circumstances of the offense. The jury convicted Santiago of seven counts of aggravated battery for the injuries to the other seven passengers and can face significant jail time on those charges alone. Coupled with the murder conviction, and Santiago could possibly face life in prison.

For more information on aggravated battery, see our Related Resources section.

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