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Bail sought after man acquitted of 2 murders

By Victoria A.F. Camron
Special to the Tribune
Published April 15, 2004

The attorney for an Aurora man acquitted of first-degree murder this week but found responsible for concealing a double homicide allegedly committed by a friend in 2002 is expected to seek his release at a bail hearing Friday.

Christopher Salinas, 19, of the 800 block of Pierce Street was accused of helping to kill Anjgel Marko and Klaudio Mara, then setting fire to Marko's car and the men's bodies inside.

Jurors on Monday acquitted Salinas of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated arson. In a directed verdict at the weeklong trial, Associate Judge Patricia Piper Golden found Salinas not guilty of four other counts of first-degree murder.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 3. If Salinas is sentenced to 3 years in prison or less, he will be eligible for immediate release because of the time he has served and credit for good behavior.

"We obviously are very happy they acquitted him," defense attorney Kathleen Colton said after the verdicts were read.

Although the verdict seemed inconsistent, because the defense argued a co-defendant forced Salinas to help him burn the bodies, Colton said, "You can't argue with a `not guilty' on first-degree murder."

Concealing a homicide is a felony punishable by probation or a prison sentence of 2 to 5 years. Salinas has been in custody since his arrest in November 2002.

Kane County prosecutors never alleged Salinas shot Marko and Mara in the head on July 9, 2002, but contended he was responsible for the actions of Frank Aquino.

Salinas asked to borrow Aquino's gun and the two planned to confront Marko and Mara about an incident involving a female friend of theirs, prosecutors said. But Aquino never gave Salinas the gun.

Prosecutors also argued Salinas was guilty of felony murder because the deaths occurred during the commission of an aggravated arson.

Aquino is accused of driving the car to a parking lot near the Farnsworth Avenue Bridge before it was set on fire.

Aquino, 24, of the 1600 block of Bartson Lane, is charged with eight counts of first-degree murder, two counts of concealing a homicide, one count of vehicular hijacking and two counts of aggravated arson.

His trial date has not been set.