Kane County prosecutors dropped charges against another cold-case defendant Tuesday, after the case was weakened by the murder of a key witness.
Prosecutors dropped charges against Quentin Moore, 27, of Aurora, in the murder of Jorge Uriostigue, who was shot in August 2003 as he sat on the front porch of a house in Aurora.
Moore was one of 31 men charged in Operation First Degree Burn, a massive 2007 cold-case murder sweep conducted by Aurora police. But Moore's case hit a brick wall in September, when a key witness was murdered in Rockford.
Jamaal "Isaac" Delville Garcia was slated to testify against Moore and Jesse Lopez, another cold-case defendant. But on Sept. 23, police found Garcia's badly burned body in a secluded wooded area near Rockford's airport. He had been shot multiple times, police said.
Three people face charges in connection with the killing, which stemmed from a dispute over a gun, according to Rockford police.
Garcia, on parole for a 2005 burglary conviction, did not have a deal with prosecutors for his testimony and had been a state witness in a non-cold-case trial earlier this year, prosecutors said.
Kane prosecutors do not believe Garcia's murder was connected to his testimony in the cold cases, but prosecutors could not prove the cases without him.
Prosecutors previously dropped the charges against Lopez, who was accused of participating in the murder of Juan Carlos Rodriguez in 2003. Lopez is in prison on an unrelated felony conviction.
Moore still faces major legal hurdles. He has already been sentenced to 23 years for a 2005 attempted murder, where he was the driver in a gang-motivated shooting.
He is also facing murder charges in the 2001 double-homicide of Sharon Paulette, 20, of St. Charles, and Larry Postelwaite, 17, of Aurora; and the 2005 beating death of Jorge Caro, 21, of Aurora. He also is charged in a fight that occurred in the Kane County jail.
On Tuesday, Kane County Judge Patricia Piper Golden ruled Moore was fit to stand trial for all those cases. She set the trial for the murder of Caro for March 9.