Local

30-year sentence for murder of McHenry teen

WOODSTOCK - A judge sentenced a 22-year-old McHenry man to 30 years in prison for fatally stabbing his friend at a party.

McHenry County Judge Joseph Condon convicted Victor Bandala-Martinez of first-degree murder for twice stabbing a 17-year-old McHenry high school student. Condon could have sentenced Bandala-Martinez to between 20 and 60 years in prison after a hearing this afternoon.

Bandala-Martinez is expected to face deportation proceedings after finishing his prison sentence.

During the three-day trial in May, prosecutors argued that Bandala-Martinez repeatedly told police he had jabbed Yair Cabrera with a kitchen fork to try to evade responsibility for his onetime friend’s death. Bandala-Martinez later told police he dropped the weapon while fleeing, and police never found it.

Cabrera bled to death early Dec. 14, 2008, after being stabbed in the heart and the spleen outside an apartment in McHenry.

A drunken argument over Cabrera telling Bandala-Martinez’ girlfriend’s brother that Bandala-Martinez had cheated on her boiled over into a fatal fight, prosecutors said. Bandala-Martinez also told police he was not afraid of Cabrera and had been teased for preferring to spend time with his girlfriend over his male friends.

But Assistant Public Defender Christopher Harmon argued that Bandala-Martinez felt he had to fight Cabrera that night after being goaded by his girlfriend’s brother and other men drinking at the apartment. Harmon emphasized that Bandala-Martinez did not appear to know Cabrera was dead until police told him and had repeatedly told police that he didn’t want to fight.

Harmon also emphasized that Bandala-Martinez told police he was sleeping when his girlfriend’s brother woke him and told him to fight Cabrera. Bandala-Martinez feared several men would beat him if he didn’t fight Cabrera, whose physical stature was similar to Bandala-Martinez’, Harmon said.

Harmon asked Condon to consider convicting Bandala-Martinez of second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter if he couldn’t  clear him of criminal wrongdoing. But Condon ruled that the evidence did not show that Bandala-Martinez believed his actions were justified to defend himself or that he was acting under extreme provocation.
 

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