Chicago shooting: Man shot girlfriend, killed stepfather after drinking, drugs at Back of the Yards on South Side, prosecutors say

CHICAGO– With a single shot, a man injured the mother of his young child and killed his stepfather as he sought revenge on someone else at a party fueled by drugs and violence. alcohol at his Back of the Yards home, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Jorge Espana, 28, has been charged with murder and aggravated assault in the shooting, which happened around 3:30 a.m. Sunday in the 5400 block of South Winchester, according to Chicago police and court records of Cook County.

During a hearing on Tuesday, Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel Hanichak said Espana was drinking with his sister, girlfriend and girlfriend’s brother when he ingested a “mushroom pill” and part of a cannabis-infused chocolate bar.

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Espana’s girlfriend, who lived in the attic with him and their young son, eventually went to bed, leaving the others to drink and smoke marijuana outside, Hanichak said. A fight broke out between Espana and his girlfriend’s brother, who had indicated he was going to bed.

Espana’s girlfriend, mother and stepfather – Huberto Rosales, 37 – eventually joined them in the backyard as the pair stood “chest to chest”, Hanichak said. After struggling and being separated, Espana told the group “he was going inside to get his gun to shoot” his girlfriend’s brother.

His girlfriend and sister followed him as he retrieved the gun from the attic and tried to stop him from going back outside, Hanichak said. They locked a door to prevent him from coming down, but Espana heard a noise from the other side and fired a shot.

The bullet grazed his girlfriend’s armpit, went through the door and hit Rosales in the head, Hanichak said. Rosales, who was celebrating his birthday that day, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Espana’s girlfriend was treated at a hospital, Hanichak said. His brother was hiding in a closet when the shot rang out.

Espana and her sister took off after the shooting, Hanichak said. He apparently called and texted his girlfriend from his sister’s phone saying he loved her and their child as he sought to retrieve her belongings.

He was arrested later that day, according to Hanichak, who urged Judge Charles Beach to order him held without bail. Espana pleaded guilty in January 2020 to one count of obstruction of justice and was sentenced to two years of “second chance probation”, according to court records.

Raymond Bendig, Espana’s lawyer, argued the shooting was an “accident” and said his client broke his jaw in the confrontation and required surgery.

“He’s the one with the serious injuries. … He wasn’t the aggressor and his injuries prove it,” Bendig said.

He pushed for Espana to be released on electronic monitoring, noting his client “doesn’t want to rely on” medical care from the Cook County Corrections Department.

Espana is a lifelong Chicago resident and high school graduate who now works at Jersey Mike’s Subs, Bendig said. He characterized Espana as a loyal, ‘animal lover’ and ‘helpful’ member of the community as he pushed back against ‘the state’s version of events’ that Espana was the only person taking mushrooms and cannabis edibles.

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Judge Beach said he gave ‘great weight’ to Bendig’s arguments, but insisted they failed to take into account that the evidence was evidence and that there was a strong presumption that Espana had fired the fatal shot.

“I believe he did,” Beach said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that he did.”

Espana was denied bail. His next court date has been set for August 15.

The video in the player above is from a previous report.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire – Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2021.)

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