NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WTVO) — A Rockford man has been found guilty of killing his girlfriend’s childhood friend and hiding his body in a garbage can in 2018.
Ernest Collins, 27, was found guilty of murder and armed robbery with a firearm, according to the DuPage County State’s Attorney.
21-year-old Cassandra Green, of Rockford, had allegedly known the victim, 20-year-old Michael Armendariz, since they were 11, the Chicago Tribune reported. Prosecutors allege that Green showed her boyfriend, Ernest Collins, 22, and his mother, Candice Jones, 38, photos of Armendariz posing with large amounts of money and drugs.
Armendariz was last seen on January 14th, 2018. His body was later found in a garbage dumpster on Chicago’s Southwest Side.
Prosecutors allege that Jones was the “mastermind” of the crime, and provided the gun that was used to kill Armendariz. The day after Armendariz was killed, Jones allegedly threatened Green, telling her she would kill her and her mother if she ever told anyone about the murder.
Green told police that the trio had tried to rob Armendariz on at least four prior occasions, which included purchasing lock pick tools to break into his apartment but could not gain entry.
Following the murder, Collins and Jones placed Armendariz’s body in a garbage can in Jones’ garage and then moved it to a vacant home nearby. Collins and Green then took Armendariz’s apartment keys and burglarized his apartment the next day.
“This senseless murder left Michael’s family and friends with just his memory as they continued their lives without him,” said DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin. “While nothing can be done to bring Michael back to those who loved him, perhaps today’s guilty verdicts will bring some measure of solace knowing the man responsible for his murder will be held accountable.”
Jones is scheduled to appear in court on October 19th, and Green on October 16th.
Collins faces up to life in prison at his sentencing on November 29th.