Bond Set for Three Accused of First Degree Murder
(This is a joint press release that was originally published by the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office on Saturday, Feb. 9)
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin and Naperville Chief of Police Robert Marshall announced today that bond has been denied for a Rockford man, his girlfriend and his mother all charged with the murder of twenty-year-old Michael Armendariz of Naperville. Ernest Collins, 22 (d.o.b. 4/22/1996), of Rockford, Cassandra Green, 21 (d.o.b. 7/18/1997) also of Rockford and Collins’ mother Candice Jones, 38 (5/30/1980) of 6820 S. Artesian Avenue, Chicago, appeared in Bond Court this morning in front of Judge David Schwartz. All three defendants have been charged with one count of First Degree Murder, one count of Aggravated Kidnapping (Class X Felony), one count of Armed Robbery (Class X Felony) and one count of Concealment of a Homicidal Death (Class 3 Felony). Additionally, Collins and Green have been charged with one count of Residential Burglary, a Class 1 Felony.
On January 18, 2018, Naperville police officers responded to a call regarding a missing Naperville resident, Michael Armendariz who was last seen in the evening of January 14, 2018. It is alleged that Armendariz received an electronic communication from Green at approximately 9:11 p.m. on January 14, 2018. It is alleged that upon receiving the communication, Armendariz left his apartment and got into a SUV driven by Green in the parking lot of the apartment complex. It is alleged that Green then drove out of the parking lot with Armendariz in the vehicle. It is further alleged that several minutes later, Collins emerged from hiding in the back of the SUV and shot Armendariz twice in the back of the head. It is alleged that the duo then traveled to Jones’ house and, with Jones’ help, placed Armendariz’s body in a garbage can and then put the garbage can in Jones’ garage. At some point in time, the garbage can was moved to the garage of the vacant house next to Jones’ home. It is further alleged that Collins and Green took Armendariz’s apartment keys and burglarized his apartment the following day. Armendariz’s body was discovered several months later and an investigation was undertaken by the Chicago Police Department. The investigation ultimately led to the apprehension of all three defendants. Collins and Green were taken into custody on February 4 in Rockford and Jones was taken into custody on February 6 in Chicago.
“The investigation into the execution of an unsuspecting man is an outstanding example of law enforcement agencies working together,” Berlin said. “Thanks to the truly outstanding work and cooperation of several law enforcement agencies, these three defendants, Mr. Collins, Ms. Green and Ms. Jones, find themselves before a judge this morning charged with First Degree Murder for the pre-meditated murder of Michael Armendariz. I would like to thank the Naperville and Chicago Police Departments for their efforts in this case. I would also like to thank the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Illinois State Police, the Chicago Police Department, and the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office for their assistance. I would finally like to thank Assistant State’s Attorney Helen Kapas who has gone above and beyond the call of duty the past several days for her work in securing strong charges against these three defendants.”
“This investigation required intense resilience and diligence on the part of our detectives and our law enforcement partners," said Chief Marshall. "I would like to commend the Naperville Police Department's Investigations Division, the Chicago Police Department, the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office and the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office for all of the hard work that went into this case, ultimately leading to justice for Michael and hopefully bringing some closure to his family.”
The next court appearance for all three defendants is scheduled for March 4, 2019, for arraignment in front of Judge Jeffrey MacKay.
Members of the public are reminded that this complaint contains only charges and is not proof of the defendants’ guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
About Naperville: Located 28 miles west of Chicago, Naperville, Ill., is home to approximately 145,000 people. This vibrant, thriving city consistently ranks as a top community in the nation in which to live, raise children and retire. The city is home to acclaimed public and parochial schools, the best public library system in the country, an array of healthcare options and an exceptionally low crime rate. Naperville has ready access to a variety of public transportation, housing and employment options. The city’s diversified employer base features high technology firms, retailers and factories, as well as small and home-based businesses. Residents also enjoy world-class parks, diverse worship options, the opportunity to serve on several City boards and commissions, a thriving downtown shopping and dining area, a renowned outdoor history museum known as Naper Settlement and an active civic community. For more information, please visit our website at www.naperville.il.us.