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Willowbrook man convicted of first-degree murder, faces 45 years to life

Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 11:14 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:22 p.m. CST
(Photo provided)
Juan Cuellar, 25 of Willowbrook, was sentenced Monday on first-degree murder charges for the 2012 shooting death of 18-year-old Joshua Holmes, also of Willowbrook.

WILLOWBROOK – A 25-year-old Willowbrook is facing 45 years to life in prison Monday after being convicted of first-degree murder.

A jury found Juan Cuellar guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of 18-year-old Joshua Holmes, also of Willowbrook, after a five-day trial and about two hours of deliberations, according to a news release from the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office.

At about 6:45 p.m. Sept. 24, 2012, the DuPage County Sheriff's Office received a report of gunshots fired in the area of Honeysuckle Rose Lane and Lilac Lane in Willowbrook, and later found Holmes bleeding in the roadway, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

Holmes died later that night.

The Sheriff's Office said Holmes and two acquaintances were walking westbound on Honeysuckle Rose Lane when a vehicle driven by Cuellar drove by and slowed down. Holmes began to approach the vehicle, and as he did, Cuellar produced a gun, pointed it out of the passenger side window and shot Holmes five times, four times in the back.

Cuellar then left his vehicle and stood over Holmes, taunting him as he lay dying in the street, before leaving the scene, according to the release.

Cuellar's mother, Elva Hernandez, 43, of Willowbrook, entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to two years in prison in April 2013 for her role in attempting to help her son conceal evidence.

Cuellar's next court date is scheduled for May 28 for return of the pre-sentence report and filing of post-trial motions. He faces a sentence of between 45 years to life in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

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