By Stewart Warren Herald News Staff Writer
JOLIET — For the second time, a jury found a Joliet man guilty Friday of a 1992 gang-related murder.
Rene Martinez, 29, could be sentenced to 60 years in prison for the crime.
“We are very happy that the jury arrived at the correct verdict,” said Will County Assistant State’s Attorney John Connor, the lead prosecutor on the case.
On Nov. 28, 1992, Martinez was 16. Accompanied by two other teens, he was in a white pickup cruising Joliet’s East Side. When they saw a car occupied by people who they believed were rival gang members, Martinez rolled down a window started shooting.
Leonard Myers, 37, suffered a gunshot wound to the head. He was pronounced dead later that day at Silver Cross Hospital.
Martinez’s first was convicted during a March 2002 jury trial. But he wore a “stun belt” during the proceedings. In the past, the security device was used in the Will County Courthouse to prevent certain defendants from causing problems or fleeing during a trial.
In case of emergency, a sheriff’s deputy can push a button on a remote control to deliver a shock.
Martinez later filed an appeal because he had to wear one of the belts during his trial. The higher court then ordered a new trial.
The second trial began Monday and ended Friday.
Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow also was pleased by the guilty verdict.
“I want to compliment John Connor, Dant Foulk and Jim Long for their hard work. Any time you have to retry a case, it is always more difficult than the first time,” Glasgow said.
He also praised Joliet police Lt. Jim Stewart for his tireless work on the case.
“He always went above and beyond getting evidence we needed for this trial. He’s been doing this his entire career,” Glasgow said.