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Local News

Second trial to begin in Joliet murder case after man wins appeal

Jesus E. Zambrano
Jesus E. Zambrano

A second jury trial will be held this week for a Joliet man after an appellate court reversed his first-degree murder conviction.

The trial for Jesus Zambrano, 29, is scheduled to begin Wednesday. In 2013, a jury found him guilty of intentionally shooting Robert Gooch in the head with a handgun in May 2009.

In 2011, a jury also had found Zambrano’s accomplice, Pedro Sanchez, 40, guilty of killing Gooch. Sanchez is serving a 61-year prison sentence. His conviction was affirmed by the 3rd District Appellate Court in 2013.

The 3rd District Appellate Court reversed Zambrano’s conviction in 2016 after finding that his attorneys failed to impeach a witness with evidence that he received immunity to testify, as well as failing to tender a jury instruction for accomplice testimony.

In 2009, Sanchez and Zambrano confronted Gooch at Gooch’s girlfriend’s Joliet apartment, according to testimony in Sanchez’s trial.

Gooch’s girlfriend Ellissa Hinton testified she would occasionally have sex with Sanchez but she didn’t want to leave Gooch, prosecutors said.

Hinton testified that while she was in her bedroom, she heard Sanchez’s voice in the living room and someone saying “my girl.” She said she then heard a single gunshot and went to the living room to find Gooch bleeding on the floor.

The apartment complex security footage showed Zambrano and Sanchez arriving at the parking lot, getting out of the vehicle and running from the building after Gooch was shot.

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