A 43-year-old Illinois woman has been found guilty of murder for her role in the killing of a Naperville man in 2018, according to reports.
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin announced on October 27, 2023, that a jury has found a former 43-year-old Candice Jones guilty in the murder of Naperville resident Michael Armendariz in January 2018. Additionally, the jury also found Jones guilty of Armed Robbery.
The jury returned their guilty verdicts against Jones after approximately ninety minutes of deliberations following a four-day-long trial in front of Judge Michael Reidy.
On February 9, 2019, Jones appeared in Bond Court where the Court granted the State’s motion to deny bond. She has remained in custody at the DuPage County Jail since that time. Jones is one of three individuals charged with the murder.
On January 18, 2018, Naperville police officers responded to a call on Whispering Hills Drive regarding a missing Naperville resident, Michael Armendariz, who was last seen at approximately 9:30 p.m., January 14, 2018.
Following an investigation, authorities learned Jones and her two co-defendants, 26-year-old Cassandra Green and her son, 27-year-old Ernest Collins, hatched a scheme to rob Armendariz with a gun.
The investigation found that Armendariz received a Snapchat message from Green at approximately 9:11 p.m. on January 14, 2019. Shortly after receiving the message, Armendariz left his apartment and got into a black, 1999 Ford Explorer driven by Green, that was in the parking lot of his apartment complex. Green then drove out of the parking lot with Armendariz in the vehicle. Approximately five minutes later, Collins emerged from hiding in the back of the Explorer and shot Armendariz twice in the back of the head.
The duo then traveled to Jones’ residence in Chicago and with Jones’ help, placed Armendariz’s body in a garbage can and then put the garbage can in Jones’ garage. At some point in time, the garbage can was moved to the garage of the vacant house next to Jones’ home.
The following day, Collins and Green took Armendariz’s apartment keys and burglarized his apartment.
Armendariz’s body was discovered several months later and an investigation was undertaken by the Chicago and Naperville Police Departments.
The investigation ultimately led to the apprehension of all three defendants. Jones was taken into custody on February 6, 2019, in Chicago while Collins and Green were taken into custody on February 4, 2019, in Rockford.
“This evening, a jury found Candice Jones, the last of three defendants charged in the murder of Michael Armendariz, guilty of first-degree murder,” Berlin said. “Guilty verdicts, however, cannot bring Michael back to those who loved him. The diabolical plot devised by Candice Jones, Ernest Collins and Cassandra Green, and the execution of that plot, left a void in the lives of Michael’s surviving family and friends that will never be filled. I wish them strength as they continue their lives, having replaced Michael’s presence with just his memory. I thank Judge Reidy for ensuring a fair trial for both sides as well as the jury for their service. I also thank Assistant State’s Attorneys Helen Kapas, Amanda Meindl and Michael Paup for their efforts in holding Candice Jones, Ernest Collins and Cassandra Green responsible for their roles in the murder of Michael Armendariz.”
Jones’ next court appearance is scheduled for December 18, 2023, for return of the Pre-sentence Report and filing of post-trial motions. She faces a penalty of seventy-five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC).
On September 29, 2023, a jury found Collins guilty of First-Degree Murder and Armed Robbery with a Firearm. His next court appearance is scheduled for November 29, 2023, for return of the Pre-sentence Report. He faces a sentence of up to natural life in the IDOC.
On August 19, 2022, Green entered an agreed plea of guilty to one count of Armed Robbery with a Firearm in exchange for her cooperation. Her next appearance is scheduled for November 13, 2023, for status.
Judge Reidy presided over the cases for all three defendants.