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Local News

Joliet man's triple murder case may conclude in December

Andy Cerros
Andy Cerros

A Joliet man charged with the murder of two women and an infant will not have a jury trial at this point and prosecutors have made an offer in the case, according to his attorney.

On Thursday, Blake Stone, the attorney for Andy Cerros, 20, said his client will not have a jury trial that was originally scheduled for Monday. He said prosecutors have made an offer to Cerros, which Stone declined to further discuss.

“Unless he changes his mind, this will finally be resolved on the next court date,” Stone said.

Cerros' next hearing is on Dec. 3.

Cerros and Manuel Escamilla, 21, have been charged with the murder of Regina Rogers, 28, Rogers' 11-month-old daughter, Royalty Rogers, and Jacquetta Rogers, 29. The three were killed in a house fire on June 3, 2017, at 16 N. Center St., Joliet.

Eric Raya, 22, was also charged with murder and arson in connection with the incident but prosecutors dropped those charges after he agreed to testify against Cerros and Escamilla.

Raya pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and he was sentenced to probation. Prosecutors are seeking to revoke his probation after he was arrested in Summit on charges of armed robbery, aggravated battery and mob action.

Prosecutors charged Escamilla and Cerros with causing the fire with a flare gun in an attempt to kill Rakeem Venson, who escaped by jumping out a window of the home.

The deadly arson was part of an ongoing gang-related feud between Venson and Escamilla, prosecutors said.

Raya testified that he was in the car with Cerros and Escamilla when the flare gun was fired into the house. He testified he heard “two pops” before seeing Cerros’ holding a flare gun.

Cerros has testified he saw Escamilla fire the flare gun. Escamilla's attorney, Chuck Bretz, said he believed evidence would show Escamilla didn't fire the flare gun.

Prosecutors were allowed to introduce evidence they argued would show Cerros conspired with Escamilla to kill Venson as part of an ongoing gang-related feud. Stone argued Cerros is not a gang member and he had no desire or plan to kill Venson.

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