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Judge convicts Bloomington man in 2018 triple homicide

February 4, 2021 GMT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — A judge has convicted a central Illinois man on nine counts of first-degree murder and other charges in a 2018 triple slaying to steal money and drugs.

Prosecutors said Sydney Mays Jr., 24, of Bloomington fatally shot Nate Pena and Corey Jackson, both 22, and Juan Carlos Perez, 33, on June 18, 2018, at a Bloomington apartment. Pena’s son, who was 4 years old at the time, was paralyzed in the shooting.

Eleventh Circuit Court Judge Casey Costigan found Mays guilty Wednesday in a bench trial on each of 11 counts he was indicted on.

Mays was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder for each of the three victims who died based on separate legal theories delineated in state law. The other two charges were attempted first-degree murder of the boy and aggravated battery with discharge of a firearm.

A recording of a 2018 police interview with one of Jackson’s friends, Navarro Howard, revealed that Mays and Pena had a dispute because Mays said Pena was “outshining” him and always showing off the amount of money he had made as a drug dealer.

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Howard also told police he had seen Mays with a .380 handgun a few days before the shooting — the same type of gun later identified to have killed Perez.

Mays’ lawyer, Michael Clancy, argued it could not be proven that Mays was the one who fired the gunshots. He said it is possible that Mays was in a different part of the apartment building at the time.

Clancy declined to comment after Costigan’s ruling.