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Teen sentenced to 46 years in murders of two students outside Chicago high school

Teen sentenced to 46 years in prison for deadly shooting outside Benito Juarez High School
Teen sentenced to 46 years in prison for deadly shooting outside Benito Juarez High School 00:27

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An 18-year-old man was sentenced to 46 years in prison on Monday, after pleading guilty to the murders of two high school students outside Benito Juarez Community Academy in 2022.

Christian Acevedo was 16 years old when he was arrested and charged in the shooting deaths of 15-year-old Brandon Perez and 14-year-old Nathan Billegas. Two other teens, a boy and a girl, both 14, also were wounded in the shooting.

Perez was a Juarez student whose family said he wanted to go into construction and own his own business. Billegas went to Chicago Bulls College Prep on the Near West Side. He was at Juarez to pick up his sister who attended the school. The teenage girl who was hit by the stray bullet also went to Juarez, while the boy who survived went to UIC College Prep, prosecutors said.  

On Monday, Acevedo pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. Judge Mary Margaret Brosnahan sentenced him to 20 years for each count of murder and 6 years for the attempted murder charge. The sentences will be served consecutively, and Acevedo must serve the entirety of each 20-year term for murder, and at least 85% of the 6-year term for attempted murder.

Acevedo has been in custody since February 2023, when he was arrested for the shooting.

Cook County prosecutors said Acevedo was a former Juarez student and was known to be affiliated with a gang. He had been expelled from Juarez for disciplinary, academic, and attendance issues after the 2020-21 school year.

On the day of the shooting, Perez, Billegas, and a 14-year-old boy were under a bridge that connects the old and new Juarez buildings – hanging out near an area colloquially called "the Rock," according to prosecutors.

That group then got into a gang-related argument with another group of young people standing nearby, and someone warned Perez, Billegas and their group to leave, because Acevedo was around to cause trouble. Then Acevedo walked up to Perez and asked if he was in a specific gang, and Perez asked why he wanted to know.

Acevedo started to walk away, but then turned around and started shooting, killing Perez and Billegas, and wounding two other teens.

A witness was able to take a picture of Acevedo with the gun in his hand, according to prosecutors. Surveillance video also showed Acevedo hanging around the school both before and after the murder.

Police found eight .357-caliber shell casings stamped Winchester 357 sig – and found they had all come from the same gun, prosecutors said.

Two witnesses later identified Acevedo as the shooter, and a police officer also identified him from prior encounters, according to prosecutors.

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