Eight years ago, Luis Macedo decided to drop out of gang life in Chicago, and moved to Mexico to build a quiet life as a barber and boxing coach, his lawyer said Monday.
But that decision came after Macedo and his fellow members of a Gage Park Latin Kings crew realized police had arrested a fellow gang member who could implicate them in the murder of 15-year-old Alex Arellano, Cook County prosecutors said.
Macedo fled to Mexico, but not before telling his fellow gang members to stay silent about the killing, and directing them to set fire to Arellano’s still-undiscovered body that had been shot and ran over by a car.
In the years since, Macedo, now 29, had worked a variety of jobs and was raising three children in Mexico, Assistant Public Defender Chandra Smith said Tuesday at a bond hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.
“He has been trying to live his life, trying to get away from gangs,” Smith said, noting that Macedo had his first daughter around the time of the fatal shooting. “He wanted to be able to see his daughter grow up. There was no saying ‘I want out,’ that’s not how you get out of a gang.”
In May 2009, Macedo and fellow members of the Latin Kings chased Arellano into the gangway of a vacant house on the Southwest Side and killed him.
Trigger man, Jovanny Martinez, was arrested soon after trying to hide the murder weapon.
During his time on the lam, Macedo climbed the list of the FBI’s Most Wanted criminals.
He was arrested in Mexico and returned to Chicago to face charges in Arellano’s death. He is the last of five people to be charged in the killing.
Judge James Brown ordered Macedo held in lieu of $10 million bail.
Martinez was sentenced in 2013 to 75 years in prison, and three other co-defendants were also sentenced to prison time, Assistant State’s Attorney John Maher said.
Macedo had joined fellow gang members who were harassing Arellano near West 53rd Street and Albany in May of 2009, Maher said.
Arellano had been walking through the neighborhood with two female friends in the neighborhood when they were accosted by two younger Latin Kings on bicycles, who demanded Arellano throw up a Kings’ gang sign and ordered him to lift up his shirt, so they could check him for tattoos that might signify his allegiance to a rival gang.
As Arellano and his friends walked away, Macedo rolled up in a Ford Mustang with other Latin Kings, and continued grilling Arrellano about his gang affiliation, Maher said.
Arellano told them he was not in a gang.
One of the Kings then pulled a baseball bat out of the trunk and handed it to Macedo, Maher said, and Macedo used it to hit Arellano in the head.
The gang members continued beating Arellano, who initially was able to run away. One of the gang members ran down the fleeing Arellano in the Mustang, knocking him off his feet. Arellano rose and continued running into the gangway of a vacant house, where the Kings again fell upon him. Martinez shot Arellano once in the back of the head. The gang members then scattered, leaving the body behind, unnoticed.
Realizing police had Martinez and the murder weapon, Macedo called together the Latin Kings who’d been on hand when Arellano was killed and ordered them to keep silent, and to dispose of Arellano’s still-undiscovered body, Maher said.
Police later found Arellano’s charred remains.