Sisto Brito

Sisto Brito

Man accused in McCook murder to plead not guilty

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By Steve Metsch

Sisto Brito, the man charged with murdering a Blue Island man in McCook in February, will plead not guilty at his upcoming arraignment, his attorney said.

A brief status hearing was held Friday morning before Associate Cook County Circuit Court Judge Mohammed M. Ghouse in Room 103 of the Bridgeview Courthouse.

Ghouse scheduled Brito’s arraignment for 9:30 a.m. March 25 in Room 110.

Brito is charged with the Feb. 17 murder of Morales Ricardo Lopez, 36.

Brito’s attorney, Damon Cheronis, said his client will enter a plea of not guilty at the arraignment.

Brito, 32, in custody at the Cook County Jail, appeared in court Friday wearing a tan Department of Corrections coverall. His hands were cuffed behind his back. His shoulder-length hair was neatly combed. He wore a full beard and mustache.

Brito said nothing while he stood beside his attorney. Two women huddled briefly in the hallway with Cheronis after the hearing to discuss the case.

Four men and women, whom a victim witness specialist with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said were friends and family of Lopez, sat quietly in the courtroom.

After, in the hall outside, one man who was asked for his thoughts replied “that’s life, man.”

A woman said “it’s a tragedy” when asked about Lopez’ death.

Jesus Dorantes, of Chicago, said Lopez was his brother-in-law.

“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Dorantes said.

Asked about the Brito’s planned not guilty plea, Dorantes said, “his actions speak for themselves.”

Lopez was married to Dorantes’ sister. “They were high school sweethearts,” Dorantes said.

In addition to his widow, Lopez is survived by three children ages 18, 17 and 6, Dorantes said.

“The family is devastated. It’s a hard loss for everybody. The children are coping,” he said.

Lopez had a job installing epoxy flooring, Dorantes said.

“He was definitely a good guy, a good friend,” Dorantes said. “He always told me that he had my back.”

Brito faces one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder for the shooting that killed Lopez and seriously wounded another man.

A parking lot dispute outside the All Star Bar, 7949 W. 47th Street, boiled over with deadly consequences, police said.

Lopez, the wounded man and two other men had gotten into an argument with Brito in the bar’s parking lot, police said, after someone had commented about the way Briton had pulled into a parking space.

Three of the four men had a physical fight with Brito, he said.

“At that point he got up, grabbed his hat, grabbed his shirt and got into his car,” McCook Deputy Police Chief David DeLeshe said.

“The other four people began walking back to their car, and said, ‘the fight is over.’ They were leaving. The defendant backed up his car and at that point words were exchanged,” DeLeshe said.

Two men ran south, two ran north. Brito got in his car and chased the two men running south on Joliet Avenue.

Near Joliet Road, he got out of the car and “just shot them multiple times,” DeLeshe said.

After an intense investigation by law enforcement officials, Brito was taken into custody by police at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, in Chicago.

The Major Case Assistance team played a key role in the investigation, DeLeshe said.

McCook Police Chief Jeremy Carr said before Friday’s hearing that his department “is still getting leads back from search warrants, things like that.”

Brito, a driver for Uber and DoorDash, had rented a car which was recovered 12 to 14 hours after the shooting, police said.

The McCook Village Board, at its meeting on March 5, presented commendations to police officers and investigators who worked on the case.

MCAT Members honored were: Commander Joe Renc of the La Grange Park police; Asst. Commander William Ramski, Stickney, Supervisors Brian Jelinek and Christopher Bandola, Brookfield; detective sergeant Crus Ortiz, Stickney, and detectives John Kissane, Indian Head Park, and Mike Prohaska, Willow Springs.

McCook Police honored were: Detectives Joseph Odeh, Randy Fane and Eric Ford, Sgt. Russ DeLude, and officers Ken Radke, Joseph Ellingham, Mark Goddard, Jaime Calderon and Jenna Calderone.

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