Rockford man found guilty in 2018 murder of Naperville resident

Ernest Collins, Rockford man found guilty in 2018 murder of Naperville resident
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A Rockford man has been convicted in the 2018 murder of Naperville resident Michael Armendariz, while the cases of his co-defendants await a decision.

After a four-day-long jury trial, Ernest Collins, 27, was found guilty of both murder and armed robbery with a firearm, according to a news release from the DuPage County State’s Attorney.

2018 incident

Naperville police responded to a call on Whispering Hills Drive on Jan. 18, 2018. They had received a report that Armendariz had been missing since the night of Jan. 14.

During an investigation, police allegedly found a Snapchat message from one of Collins’ co-defendants Cassandra Green, 26, on Jan. 14.

Officials say that shortly after the message was received, Armendariz left his apartment and entered a black SUV driven by Green. Approximately five minutes later, Collins emerged from the back of the vehicle and shot Armendariz twice in the back of the head.

It is alleged Collins and Green then drove to the Chicago residence of Collins’ second co-defendant and mother, Candice Jones, 43, and put Armendariz’s body in a garbage can in the garage. The can was eventually moved to a vacant garage near Jones’ home.

Officials allege that Collins and Green took Armendariz’s apartment keys and burglarized his residence the following day.

Armendariz’s body wasn’t discovered for several months. Upon the discovery, the Chicago and Naperville Police Departments undertook an investigation into the murder.

Green and Collins were taken into custody on Feb. 4, 2019, in Rockford, and Jones two days later in Chicago.

Collins has remained at the DuPage County jail since his arrest. His next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 29, as he faces up to life in prison. 

“This senseless murder left Michael’s family and friends with just his memory as they continued their lives without him,” said DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin. “While nothing can be done to bring Michael back to those who loved him, perhaps today’s guilty verdicts will bring some measure of solace knowing the man responsible for his murder will be held accountable.”

Green is set to appear in court on Oct. 16. She is accused of first-degree murder, concealing a homicidal death, residential burglary, aggravated kidnapping with a firearm, and aggravated robbery with a firearm.

Jones’ arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 19. She is accused of first-degree murder, concealing a homicidal death, aggravated robbery with a firearm, and aggravated kidnapping with a firearm.

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