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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Press Release

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Charges Upgraded to Murder Against West Chicago Man After Stabbing Victim Succumbs to His Injuries

DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin announced today that a West Chicago man originally charged with Aggravated Battery is now facing murder charges after the victim succumbed to his injuries. Joel Munoz-Valdez, 24 (d.o.b. 10/30/1995) of 737 S. Oak Street, appeared at a bond hearing this morning where Judge Jeffrey MacKay set bond at $2 million with 10% to apply. On March 1, 2020, Munoz-Valdez’s bond was set at $100,000 with 10% to apply  on two charges of Aggravated Battery (Class 3 Felony), one count of Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon (Class 3 Felony) and one count of Possession of Methamphetamine (Class 3 Felony.) This morning, the State replaced the Aggravated Battery charges with one count of First-Degree Murder. All other charges remain the same.

It is alleged that on February 26, 2020, at approximately 10:40 p.m., Munoz-Valdez approached the victim, Luis Lopez outside a home on the 800 block of Brentwood in West Chicago. It is alleged that a verbal altercation between Munoz-Valdez and the victim turned physical at which time Munoz-Valdez took a knife out of his pocket and stabbed Lopez several times in the back and left leg. It is further alleged that following the altercation, Munoz-Valdez fled the scene. He was apprehended on February 29, 2020 at a location in Naperville. Lopez was transported to a local hospital. On March 6, 2020, Lopez, who never regained consciousness since the attack, was pronounced deceased by medical personnel. 

“I would like to commend the West Chicago Police Department for their quick identification and apprehension of the defendant in this case,” Berlin said. “I offer my condolences to the family and friends of Luis Lopez as they mourn this senseless loss of life. I would also like to thank Assistant State’s Attorneys Alyssa Rabulinski and Heather Misura for their efforts in securing charges against Mr. Munoz-Valdez.”

Munoz-Valdez’s next court appearance is scheduled for April 8, 2020 in front of Judge MacKay for arraignment.

Members of the public are reminded that this complaint contains only charges and is not proof of the defendant’s guilt.  A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.