According to testimony, Smith and Houghtaling entered Burrito Express wearing black knit ski masks, and intending to rob the restaurant.
"That's the moment that I knew my father was no longer in my life," he said.
Man found guilty for third time in 2001 McHenry murder
and attempted armed robbery, and was sentenced to 25 years. David Collett, of Spring Grove, pleaded guilty to aggravated armed robbery in September 2001, and was sentenced to five years.
The defense also pointed to an alleged 2005 statement to investigators by Dallas DeCicco, who claimed that her cousin and boyfriend are actually responsible for committing the murder. But when DeCicco testified last week, she recanted that story.
The boy went home and tried to call his father several times, but there was no answer.
"I said to my mom 'mom something is wrong,'" he said ofa dark feeling he had.
But Michael Combs, chief of the criminal division in McHenry County, says the evidence was strong enough for three juries to convict Smith.
A McHenry County jury deliberated 21 hours, beginning Monday afternoon, before it convicted Kenneth Smith, 35, of first degree murder and attempted armed robbery in the March 6, 2001 death Raul Briseno, 34, owner of a Burrito Express restaurant in far northwest suburban McHenry.
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"They left him lying to die in the cold night air," Johnston told the jury.
He recalled the last time he saw his father. He was 11. He saw his father standing at the cash register, and begged his mother to take him to see his dad, but she declined.
In closing arguments on Monday, Assistant State's Atty. Dave Johnston described Briseno as "a business man, a family manliving the American dream."
After attempting to steal the money, the two men were chased out of the restaurant by Briseno, who was carrying a butcher knife, and Eduardo Pardo, a restaurant employee, according to prosecutors.
"Thirty six people have found this guy guilty that's because he is guilty as sin," said Combs, who expects another appeal, but hopes the appelate court upholds this conviction.
described his father as a hard worker and a proud man who loved his family.
caught Houghtaling and Smith shot at Briseno "multiple times" with a .22 caliber gun, killing him, Johnston said.
Defense attorney David Jimenez Ekman maintained throughout the trial that prosecutors presented no physical evidence linking Smith to the scene of the crime. He also said the state's witnesses, including Houghtaling, were not credible. He noted that when Houghtaling was being interviewed by investgators he was high on hallucinegens. Houghtaling recanted his confession during the trial.
He and his mother drove to the restaurant only to see police and blood on the ground. He recalled an officer telling him his dad was hurt and taken to the hospital.
Three others were also charged and sentenced in the crime. Justin Houghtaling, of Burlington, Wis., pleaded guilty in 2001 to first degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years. Jennifer McMullan, of Round Prada Card Holder Pink Lake Beach, was convicted in 2002 of murder Prada Cahier Celestial
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