A Chicago man was charged with trying to have someone kill two witnesses about to testify at his son’s murder trial, authorities said.
Euripides Caguana, also known as “Caca,” 59, of the 3700 block of West 81st Place in Chicago's Ashburn neighborhood, was charged with federal murder-for-hire, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.
Caguana appeared this morning in U.S. District Court and remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, the statement said.
According to the complaint, a cooperating witness told law enforcement that Caguana called him on Oct. 13, wanting to meet because he was seeking to have two men killed in order to prevent them from testifying against his son, who is incarcerated on a murder charge. Caguana wanted them dead by or before Oct. 19, and they were supposed to testify on Oct. 23 – his son’s next court date, the complaint said.
His son, 19-year-old Travis Caguana of the same address of his father, faces murder and weapons charges and is currently being held without bond at Cook County Jail, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office.
According to his arrest report, Travis Caguana was charged with the murder of Dante Smallwood, 18, who died June 9, 2011 after being shot in the head in the 3400 block of West 79thStreet about 4 p.m. on June 8 while walking with another man who suffered a graze wound to the torso.
During the next few days, the cooperating witness and an undercover officer, posing as a hit man, engaged in a series of recorded conversations and meetings in which Caguana provided the witness with $500 to purchase a gun and offered to pay up to $7,500 to have them killed.
During one of the meetings, at a restaurant at Addison and Pulaski, Caguana told the witness he’d followed the would-be victims for “some time’’ and gave him printed out pictures of the men and notes on their movements, the complaint said.
On the evening of Oct. 15 during a recorded cell phone call to talk about the exchange of money, Caguana asked: “Why don’t you come by the house?” and the witness replied: “I got dude (the hit man) on standby because he’s ready. You got ‘em, right [the money for the gun and/or information on the victims]?
Caguana responded: “Yeah, yeah, we’re gonna do it…we’re gonna do it,’’ meaning the killings, according to the complaint.
Later that night the witness met Caguana at his home and while talking in Caguana’s garage, Caguana took money out of the trunk of a champagne-colored Toyota sedan and gave him $500 for the gun and they discussed how he would pay $5,000 for one victim and $2,000 for the other, the complaint said.
They even drove around in the car and visited the victims’ homes before agreeing to get together the next day, Oct. 16, to meet the “hit man,’’ at Chase Park, at Clark and Leland.
At the park that morning at 11:06 a.m., as other law enforcement officers hid and watched, they saw Caguana, the witness, and the undercover officer posing as the hit man talking.
Caguana told them: “This guy’s gotta go (be killed) first,’’ the complaint said. He also gave them details about what time the proposed victims went to work. When the (witness) offered to have them killed that day, Caguana replied: “We can do them (kill them) both at the same time,’’ the complaint said.
After agreeing that $2,000 was to be a “down payment,'' and Caguana would pay the balance after the first man was killed, they went to three separate cars but Chicago Police and the FBI arrested Caguana as he entered his vehicle at 11:39 a.m., the complaint said.
Murder-for-hire carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the Court must determine a reasonable sentence to impose under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.