Prosecutors in Cook County, Illinois, gave details of the gruesome murder of six members of Chicago family who resided in the Gage Park neighborhood. A relative of the family is alleged to have carried out the murders, being aided by a female companion. Diego Uribe-Cruz was related to the victims, but this did not stop him from carrying out the killings. Uribe-Cruz, alleged the prosecutors, stabbed a 13-year-old boy to death who pleaded for his life: “Please no! Please don't! I just want to live."
Uribe-Cruz, who was wearing a Chicago Bears Jay Cutler jersey, appeared impassive in court.
Uribe-Cruz and girlfriend, Jafeth Ramos, carried out the killings and then fled the family’s home with purloined cash, charge prosecutors. They also took jewelry and a video game console. With the money, Ramos and Uribe-Cruz purchased milk and diapers. They hocked the jewelry. The 22-year-old Uribe-Cruz and 19-year-old Ramon have a one-year-old child. In all, Uribe-Cruz and Ramos stole $250 in change (including from a piggy bank), and $350 cash and jewelry. They sold got $150 in pawn for the jewelry. "It appears that six lives were taken for $550 and an XBox," said State's Attorney Anita Alvarez in a news conference.
Maria Herminia Martinez
Today, Judge James Brown ordered the Uribe-Cruz and Ramos held without bail. Judge Brown said their crime was "pure evil." The pair is charged with six counts of first-degree murder. Local authorities contend that they both gave recorded confessions to the crimes. The judge said that the shocking crimes had put Chicago "on edge as a result of this act of barbarism." Judge Brown said, "These acts that the assistant state's attorney described in the courtroom today — the slaughter of an entire family including two innocent children — can only be described in two words: pure evil." The public defender said Uribe-Cruz and Ramos are invoking their 4th, 5th, 6th and 14th Amendment rights.
Noe Martinez Sr.
Ramos is alleged to have gone to the Martinez family home with the intention of robbing Uribe-Cruz’s relatives. They took a pistol with them to see the Martinez family. Before commencing the mayhem, Ramos and Uribe-Cruz ate at the Martinez home. Uribe-Cruz asked his aunt by marriage, Maria Herminia Martinez, to go with him upstairs. Cruz later told police that he was angry over how she had treated his uncle, from whom she was divorced. It was upstairs in the home that Uribe-Cruz confronted his 32-year-old aunt with a small caliber handgun. When she refused his demand for money, Martinez and Uribe-Cruz got into a tussle before he shot her several times. Maria Herminia Martinez was dead after sustaining several shots from Uribe-Cruz.
Noe Martinez Jr., Maria Herminia’s 38-year-old brother, heard the shots and ran upstairs where Uribe-Cruz overwhelmed him, then repeatedly punched and kicked him. Hearing the struggle, 58-year-old Rosaura Martinez, the eldest of the family of three generations, rushed upstairs and tried to throw a picture frame at Uribe-Cruz. However, he pushed her down the stairs and knocked her out.
Going downstairs, Cruz went to the kitchen to collect several knives, say prosecutors. He then stabbed matriarch Rossaura multiply as she lay unconscious on the floor.
Two boys, Leonardo Cruz, 13, and Alexis Cruz, 10, showed Uribe-Cruz and Ramos where money was to be found. The criminal pair of Cruz and Ramos then went to several rooms to rifle dressers and drawers where they found jewelry, a piggy bank, cash and an Xbox 1 video game console. Cruz, the accused, then forced the youngest boy to descend to the basement of the house. According to accomplice Ramos, the boy screamed while receiving fatal stab wounds inflicted by Cruz.
Thirteen-year-old Leonardo Cruz shook his head when he confronted Uribe-Cruz about the fate of his younger brother. Uribe-Cruz "told him he was fine and to go check if grandpa is coming in," a prosecutor said. It was when the boy looked out a window that the murderer stabbed him in the abdomen despite the boy's pleas for mercy.
But Uribe-Cruz was not finished.
Noe Martinez Jr.
The accused waited for grandfather Noe Martinez, Sr., 62, to return from shopping for tamales and hot chocolate on nearby Kedzie Avenue. When he got home, Uribe-Cruz grabbed him, stabbed and beat him before stealing his wallet. Grandfather Martinez cried "Why are you killing me? I don't owe you anything."
The victims were found on February 4 after one of Noe Martinez Jr.’s co-workers reported that he had not come to work for two days at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Maria Herminia Martinez’s body was found in a kneeling position in an upstairs bedroom. She had been shot four times in the head and in both hands. Leonardo Cruz was stabbed at least a dozen times. Grandfather Noe Martinez Sr. suffered 42 knife wounds all over his body, while wife Rosaura was stabbed in the abdomen five times. Little Alexis Cruz was stabbed three times in the heart, and 10 times overall.
A lead in the case came on May 18 when police reported Uribe-Cruz’s DNA was matched to evidence found at the crime scene. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told the press of the Martinez clan, “They were a family like any other: they went to work, went to school, loved each other, and abided by the law. In my 28 years, I have not seen a case hit so close to home for myself and so many others in this department.”
Diego Uribe-Cruz (L) and Jafeth Ramos (R)
The funeral Mass for the victims was held at St. Gall Catholic Church on Sawyer Street in Chicago. Mourners filled the church to capacity.
The only survivor of the carnage was Pelusa, the family dog. Its name means 'Fluffy' in English. According to the Chicago Tribune, there have been 238 murders committed in Chicago so far in 2016. In 2015, there were 489 reported homicides.