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Local News

Prosecutors seek to revoke probation for witness in Joliet triple murder case

Prosecutors have asked a judge to revoke the probation for a defendant-turned-witness in a triple murder case after he was arrested on an armed robbery charge in November.

Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Chris Koch argued in a petition filed May 5 that 21-year-old Eric Raya violated the terms of his 30-month probation when he allegedly committed armed robbery, aggravated battery and mob action on Nov. 4 at the Town Tap Bar in Summit.

Raya was sentenced to probation after he pleaded guilty Aug. 14 to obstruction of justice for allowing Manuel Escamilla, 21, to drive off in his Chrysler Pacifica with a flare gun. Police said the flare gun was used to start a 2017 house fire that killed Regina Rogers, 28, her baby, Royalty Rogers, and Jacquetta Rogers, 29.

Raya also pleaded guilty to aggravated battery in an unrelated incident. He agreed to plead guilty to the two charges and testify against Escamilla and Andy Cerros, 20, in exchange for prosecutors dropping murder and arson charges against him.

Escamilla and Cerros have been charged with killing the two women and infant by starting the fire.

Escamilla’s attorney Chuck Bretz has requested a special prosecutor for his client’s case after arguing prosecutors failed to find Raya in violation of his probation after his Summit arrest.

Bretz said in another court filing that it “shocks the conscience” prosecutors did not find Raya in violation of his probation and plea deal.

When asked why the petition was filed recently and if it was in response to Bretz's special prosecutor motion, Will County State’s Attorney spokeswoman Carole Cheney said her office has monitored Raya's status and filed the petition in light of his recent discharge from the Illinois Department of Corrections when he completed his sentence on the aggravated battery offense.

Raya has not yet been tried on the Cook County charges, she said.

Raya was discharged from IDOC custody on April 15 and was released from the Cook County jail after his bond was posted on April 20, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

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