CHICAGO (STMW) -- A Southwest Side man who was already being held in Cook County Jail when he was charged with the 2010 murders of three people found dead inside a car pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday.
Roberto Cerda, 24, of the 5600 block of South Trumbull Avenue, is charged with first-degree murder for the deaths of three men found in a vehicle in the 4800 block of South Whipple Street on May 18, 2010. On Monday he pleaded not guilty, according to Cook County State's Attorney's office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.
Cerda is allegedly part of a group police suspect killed as many as 12 people in drug-related murders throughout the city. He was being held on $50,000 bond on an unrelated charge when he was ordered held without bond on the murder charges.
The bodies of three men were found about 7 a.m. on May 19, 2010, in the back seat and trunk of a car parked in an industrial area in the 4800 block of South Whipple Street, police said. The Cook County Medical Examiner's office identified the men as 37-year-old Andres Butron of the 2800 block of South Christiana; 42-year-old Ernesto Alquien of the 2200 block of North Meade; and 28-year-old Hector Romero of the 1600 block of North Karlov.
In February, Chicago Police said Arturo Ibarra, Raul Segura-Rodriguez and Augustin Toscano were part of a group suspected in as many as 12 drug-related murders — including the May 18, 2010, triple homicide in which Cerda is now charged. He has not been charged in any of the other murders.
Ibarra, 37, was fatally shot by police on Feb. 26 after officers said he entered a home in the 5800 block of North Winthrop with Segura-Rodriguez and Toscano, bound the hands of three people with belts and cut their throats. Police shot him during a chase through the North Side.
Segura-Rodriguez, 36, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder for those killings. He has also been charged with killing four people on Sept. 2, 2010, in a garage in the 6100 block of South Kildare, prosecutors said. He is being held without bond.
Toscano has only been charged in the murders in the 5800 block of North Winthrop. He is also being held without bond.
At least some of the men are also suspects in the April 2010 triple murder in the 2300 block of West 36th, where three other men were found bound in a car.
Cerda's next court hearing is scheduled for Aug. 29, Simonton said.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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