The man accused of killing a DePaul University honors student nearly two years ago sat and listened Monday as a witness described how he came face-to-face with the alleged killer that Halloween night.
"They had dark hoodies with the hoods pulled down," recalled Eduardo Villanueva, who lived just north of the party that Francisco "Frankie" Valencia was attending.
Villanueva said he saw Narcisco Gatica with a group of guys headed south on Rockwell minutes before the shooting.
"I heard five gunshots coming from the south," he told the courtroom.
Villanueva said he made direct eye contact with Gatica shortly after Gatica allegedly dumped the gun in between two buildings.
"He was fumbling around underneath his hoodie," he said. "And I heard metal hit metal."
Monday is the first day of testimony in Gatica's trial. The 21-year-old, self-proclaimed member of the Maniac Latin Disciple street gang was one of two men charged with Valencia's death.
Valencia's mother, Joy McCormack, said Monday she intends to testify during the trial, as does Daisy Camacho, Valencia's girlfriend who was shot and injured that night.
Last June, Berly Valladares was sentenced to 70 years in prison for providing the gun that was used to kill Valencia outside a Logan Square home that had been rented for a Halloween party.
On the stand last September, Valladares testified he gave the murder weapon, a TEC-9 semiautomatic, to Gatica who opened fire.
At Valladares' trial, prosecutors said a group of Maniac Latin Disciples descended on the party, angry because they'd been forced to leave the premises earlier in the night.
When Gatica was arrested, detectives said he had showed up to the party uninvited and became upset by the "perceived slight" of being asked to leave. Gatica went to Valladares' residence to get a gun telling him that he needed it to shoot someone.
Shortly after getting the TEC-9, Gatica returned to the party and began shooting erratically, letting four to six bullets fly through the air. The attack was captured by surveillance video.
Valencia was an honors student at DePaul, as well as a campus leader, student activist and mentor.
Gatica has been charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
|Full Coverage: Frankie Valencia|