ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – A man convicted in the death of Geneva resident Brendon P. Anderson and another man 15 years ago was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday.
Jaime M. Diaz was charged in 2008, 10 years after the murders of Anderson and Aurora resident Elias Calcano, both 21 years old, after a beer bottle in Anderson’s car at the murder scene was found to contain Diaz’s DNA.
A jury convicted Diaz, 36, formerly of Aurora, on Jan. 31 of two counts of first-degree murder. The life sentence is mandatory because he was convicted of two murders.
“The families of Brendon Anderson and Elias Calcano waited many years for justice,” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said in a statement. “They certainly deserve some measure of peace. We hope that this sentence, along with these convictions, helps them move forward.”
Anderson and Calcano were killed around midnight March 16, 1998, when Diaz went to the Aurora home of his girlfriend. Diaz found his girlfriend and her sister in Anderson’s car with Anderson and Calcano.
Diaz’s girlfriend previously had a relationship with Anderson, and she testified that she also was friends with Calcano.
Diaz knew Calcano and possibly knew Anderson, officials said.
Several hours later, Anderson, Calcano, Diaz and a fourth man were in Anderson’s car, parked in an alley off the 700 block of East New York Street in Aurora. Diaz and the fourth man were in the back seat, Anderson was in the driver’s seat, and Calcano was in the front passenger seat.
Diaz pulled out a semiautomatic handgun and shot Anderson and Calcano once each in the back of the head. The fourth man fled.
Diaz removed the bodies from the car and walked away, returning a short time later to douse the bodies with gasoline and set them on fire.
Authorities believe that Anderson and Calcano died before Diaz set the fire.
Diaz was not charged for more than 10 years until credible evidence surfaced that pointed to him as the killer.
The fourth man testified at the trial that Diaz was drinking beer at the scene before the murders took place. The beer bottle in Anderson’s car at the murder scene linked Diaz because it contained his DNA.
Diaz has been held in the Kane County jail since his arrest.
Although the state declared its intent to seek a death sentence in 2008, Illinois lawmakers repealed the death penalty in 2011.
McMahon credited Aurora Police Officer Greg Spayth “for his hard work and perseverance in this case.” McMahon also credited assistant state’s attorneys Greg Sams and Deborah Lang, who prosecuted Diaz.