Chicago Mother, Rockford Couple Charged With Murder Of 20-Year-Old Naperville Man

Mike Krauser
February 09, 2019 - 11:56 am
Michael Armendariz

Corina Marin

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A Chicago mother, her son and her son’s girlfriend are being held without bond on charges that the robbed and killed Naperville resident Michael Armendariz and hid his body in a garbage can.

They are Armendariz’ childhood friend, 21-year-old Cassandra Green, her boyfriend, 22-year-old Ernest Collins of Rockford,  and Collins’s mother, 38-year-old Candice Jones of Chicago. They have been charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, aggravated kidnapping and concealment of a homicidal death. Collins and Green also are being held on additional charges of residential burglary.

“The allegations that a mother aided, planned and helped her son and her son’s girlfriend commit an armed robbery and brutal execution of a young man and then hid and concealed a body in a blue garbage can is shocking,” said DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin at a news conference Saturday.

Armendariz, 20, of Naperville, was reported Jan.18, 2018 and his body was found four months later in blue trash bin in an empty house on the 6800 block of South Artesian Avenue. A medical examiner determined he was shot twice in the back of the head.

Police said they found the Armendariz and Green exchanged snaps on Snapchat several days before disappeared. Through their investigation, Chicago police found Candice Jones and her son, Ernest Collins, who lived next to the empty house where Armendariz’s body was found. Jones had called 311 several times to report a foul odor coming from the house. Police also later located a 1994 Ford Explorer that they believed was connected to the crime. They then arrested all three suspects, and learned the crime occurred Naperville, and turned the case over to Naperville police.

Authorities said that Green showed Jones Facebook pictures of Armendariz posing with cash and drugs, and Jones hatched a plan to burglarize his home. The trio tried four times to break into his apartment, but was not successful. Jones, who Berlin said grew frustrated, tried again after they bought lock-picking tools online. That attempt also did not work.

On January 14, Jones changed course, Berlin said. They would try again, but her son would shoot Armendariz. She gave Collins what police believe is a .38-calibre revolver and said “you’re going to do this.”

They planned with Armendariz to steal a bottle of alcohol from the Wal-Mart in Naperville. Green drove the Explorer to pick him in Naperville while Collins hid in the back. When Armedariz got in, Collins shot him in the head.

Berlin called the act a “complete disregard of human life in the law.”

Defendants (left to right) Ernest Collins, Cassandra Green and Candice Jones
DuPage County state's attorney's office

Afterward, Berlin said, they drove him back to Englewood, covered him with a blanket, and the three stuffed his body in a garbage can and put in the garage. They removed his possessions from his pants pockets, built a fire in the backyard, and burned several items, including the blanket and his cell phone.

The next day, after they determined they had not recovered enough money, Green and Collins went back to Armendariz’s apartment and used his keys to get in. Green later threatened to kill Collins and his mother if they said anything. At some point, they moved the body to the house next door.

Police have recovered evidence, including the gun, bullet casings, blood in the Explorer and a partially burned cell phone they believe belonged to Armendariz.

Green, Collins and Jones were arraigned Saturday in Dupage County court. Their next hearing is March 4.

Erika Hobbs contributed to the article.