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Jail Inmate Charged in Alleged Plot to Have Witness Killed

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–February 16, 2011.  A Cook County Jail inmate awaiting trial on a residential burglary charge has been charged with attempting to recruit a hit man to kill a female witness in his pending criminal case, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced today.

Juan Vanga, 18, has been charged with one count of Solicitation of Murder for Hire and one count of Solicitation of Murder.  Vanga, who faces a minimum of 20 years in prison if convicted on the charges, was scheduled to appear in bond court today at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building.

“A threat against a witness is a threat against the integrity of the entire criminal justice system and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Alvarez.  “Special recognition goes to the Sheriff’s investigators and State’s Attorney prosecutors who recognized a credible threat and moved swiftly to stop it.”

According to prosecutors, Vanga was being held in Cook County Jail on a residential burglary charge that occurred in January.  Last week Cook County Sheriff’s investigators became aware that Vanga had engaged in discussions with another jail inmate about the impact the death of the witness would have on his case.

In one conversation Vanga told the inmate that the witness’s death could be made to look like a ‘carjacking’. On another occasion he stated that the witness could be ‘kidnapped, raped, and dumped in a creek’.

The inmate told the defendant if he wanted the witness killed that he could put him in touch with his brother. Vanga wrote out his name and jail identification number on a piece of paper and asked the inmate to pass it along but instead the inmate alerted jail authorities about the discussions.

The inmate then gave a phone number to Vanga that allegedly belonged to his brother but in actuality belonged to an undercover Sheriff’s Police Officer. The defendant called the number and set up a meeting.

During their meeting at Cook County Jail the defendant told the undercover officer that he wanted to have the witness in his case killed and he provided information regarding the address of the witness. Vanga reiterated that he wanted the witness killed in several subsequent conversations with the undercover officer and had agreed to pay $1,500 before he was arrested Feb. 14.

The public is reminded that charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Source: statesattorney.org

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