Two men on a crime spree that involved several attacks across Chicago were charged with beating a man to death with a bat and crowbar as he hung Christmas lights outside his Gage Park home over the holidays, while his young daughter watched on in horror, police said Friday.
Moises Barrios, 23, and Pedro Mendiola, 21, were both charged with first-degree murder, among several others, including nearly a dozen felony counts of armed robbery and nine counts of aggravated battery with a dangerous weapon.
According to Chicago police, on Dec. 11, the two men were in the midst of an hourslong string of robberies that started on Chicago's North Side at about 3:30 p.m. and continued down to the city's South Side through 8 p.m. when they saw a man hanging Christmas lights in the 3500 block of West 58th Street.
"They decided that they were going to target him and rob him as well. And they got out with their bat and their crowbar," said Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan with the Chicago Police Department. "And unfortunately the daughter heard the screams and saw on the window what was happening and tried to get her brother to help. At that time, the defendants already beaten the victim to death and had fled the scene."
Officials said 49-year-old Jose Téllez, a father of three, had no connection to the suspects, but was simply "doing what many of us do during the holidays, hanging Christmas lights outside his home."
"There are no words really for this senseless and heinous act of violence and there are no words that can lessen the pain and trauma Mr. Téllez his daughter and family have endured," Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said during a press conference Friday. "When one life is claimed by senseless violence, that... that's one life to many."
Police alleged, in addition to the beating, that Barrios and Mendiola continued to "wreak havoc, committing multiple robberies and attacking multiple people, during their spree."
The suspects are expected to appear in bond court Friday afternoon.