Insane Latin Jivers members held in connection with murder

by Lily Fu
February 19, 2003

Bond was set Wednesday for three members of the Insane Latin Jivers street gang who are accused of fatally shooting a rival gang member on the Northwest Side last week.

Cook County Circuit Judge Mary Margaret Brosnahan ordered Armando Rodriguez, 17, of the 1200 block of North Cleaver Street, and Gabriel Antolin, 22, of the 1800 block of North Talman Avenue, each held on $800,000 bond. The third suspect, 15-year-old Jaime Perez, is being tried as an adult. He was ordered held on $500,000 bond.

All three are charged with first degree murder in the death of Ariel Torres, 25, of the Noble Square neighborhood, who prosecutors said was a member of the Spanish Cobras gang.

Assistant State's Attorney Nickolas Pappas said on Saturday night, Rodriguez, Antolin and Perez were driving on the 1400 block of West Blackhawk Street where they saw Torres and his friend Melissa Gomez, 26, sitting in a car. Pappas said Rodriguez recognized Torres as a Spanish Cobra member and asked Antolin to drive to Rodriguez's house so he could get his .38 caliber handgun.

Pappas said the three men drove back to where Torres and Gomez were parked, and Rodriguez and Perez walked toward the car while Antolin drove around the block. Rodriguez fired several shots at the car, Pappas said.

Torres died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. Gomez suffered minor injuries.

All three men made videotaped confessions to police, Pappas said. He added that Rodriguez's handgun was recovered near the crime scene and that there are at least two eyewitnesses.

Defense attorneys argued for a reasonable bond, despite the fact that both Rodriguez and Antolin have been previously convicted on felony charges and served time on probation. Perez, of the 4800 block of South Laflin Street, does not have a criminal record.

Pappas said Antolin is a gang leader and Rodriguez and Perez are his "soldiers."

Rodriguez, Antolin and Perez are scheduled to appear in court again on March 21