Man who drove vehicle in fatal firebombing sentenced to 20 years in prison

December 19

JOLIET — Will County States Attorney James Glasgow announced that a Joliet man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in a 2005 firebombing that killed a mother and her 4-year-old daughter.

Sergio Anguiano, 24, testified against two codefendants in the April 9, 2005 firebombing that killed Maria DeLourdes Nunez, 35, and her young daughter, Merary Nunez in their house at 419 Madeline St. in Joliets St. Patricks Neighborhood.

Anguiano drove the two codefendants to the St. Patricks Neighborhood. They exited the vehicle and went to the house, where one of the men threw a rock through the window and the other threw the firebomb.

The two men, Juan Santana and Ignacio Jacobo, already have been convicted of first-degree murder. Santana has been sentenced to life in prison; Jacobo is awaiting sentencing and is expected to receive a life sentence also.

Jacobo threw the rock through the first-floor window of the house.  Santana threw the firebomb through the broken window.

Anguiano parked a block away from the house. But he said he did not see the firebombing and did not know Santana and Jacobo intended to torch the house.

In exchange for his truthful testimony against the firebombers, Anguiano was allowed to enter a blind plead of guilty to a charge of aggravated arson. The state agreed to cap its sentencing recommendation to Circuit Judge Richard Schoenstedt at 20 years in prison.

I have a special understanding of the horrific nature of this crime because I spent countless days of my youth playing at the house right next door. This sentence brings this tragic case one step closer to conclusion, States Attorney Glasgow said.

Glasgow continued: Sergio Anguianos testimony enabled us to take two murderous gang-bangers off of our streets. However, although he did not throw the firebomb, he must pay a severe penalty for aiding and abetting Santana and Jacobo in the heartbreaking murders of this young mother and her innocent little child.

Testimony during the trials of Santana and Jacobo revealed the two men firebombed the house because they believed one of Merarys older brothers belonged to a rival gang. The brother, who was 14 at the time of the firebombing, testified he was a pretend gang member.

Nunezs two sons were sleeping in the house when Santana and Jacobo threw the firebomb. One of the brothers tried to put out what started as a small fire, but he abandoned his efforts as flames and smoke spread.

One woman testified she saw two men running toward a white Jeep Cherokee with a red interior shortly after the house was firebombed. She memorized the license plate number and reported it to police, who traced the vehicle to its owner.

The owner of the Jeep testified he had lent his vehicle to Santana, Jacobo and Anguiano on the night of the firebombing.

Two of Glasgows top prosecutors, First Assistant States Attorney Greg DeBord and Criminal Division Chief Lea Norbut-Sicinski, tried the cases against Santana and Jacobo and secured the plea from Anguiano.

The Joliet Police Department detectives were nothing short of brilliant in their pursuit of elusive leads while tracking down these cold-blooded killers.  The combination of their dogged determination and the artfulness of our trial attorneys guaranteed the publics protection from these dangerous degenerates, Glasgow said.