Sisto Brito

Sisto Brito

McCook murder suspect pleads not guilty to all charges

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By Steve Metsch

As expected, the man charged with the February murder of a Blue Island man in McCook pleaded not guilty in court Monday morning.

Meanwhile, the victim’s family is coping as they try to come to grips with their loss, a brother-in-law said.

Damon Cheronis, the defense attorney representing Sisto A. Brito, said “we will plead not guilty on all charges” during an arraignment before Cook County Circuit Court Judge John “Terry” Gallagher at the Bridgeview Courthouse.

The arraignment took one minute.

Gallagher scheduled a status hearing for Brito at 9:30 a.m. May 7 in Room 110 at the Bridgeview Courthouse.

Cheronis declined to comment about the case when asked before the arraignment.

Brito, in custody at the Cook County Jail since Feb. 18, appeared in court wearing a tan Department of Corrections coverall.

His long, dark hair was tied back in a pony tail. His hands were cuffed behind his back. He said nothing in court.

Brito, 32, of Chicago, is charged with the Feb. 17 murder of Morales Ricardo Lopez, 36, of Blue Island.

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

Lopez’ brother-in-law, Jesus Dorantes, of Chicago, who attended the arraignment, said he has no doubt regarding Brito’s guilt.

“I know he did it. His actions speak for themselves,” Dorantes said outside Room 110.

Lopez is survived by a wife and three children. Lopez was married to his high school sweetheart, Dorantes’ sister.

“They’re coping, but it’s still hard to believe,” Dorantes said.

Lopez’ widow and his two eldest children, a teenage boy and girl, attended the arraignment. They declined to comment.

A woman who requested anonymity and identified Lopez as “my older brother” said “we don’t want to jeopardize the case.”

However, she did pause to reflect on the family’s tremendous loss.

“Basically, no mother, father or kids should go through what my family has gone through,” she said. “There’s no words to explain anything beside that.”

“He was a good brother. Very loving,” she added. “(He died) over nothing. Absolutely nothing. We’re trying to take it one day at a time.”

A parking lot dispute outside the All Star Bar, 7949 W. 47th Street, boiled over and led to the shootings, police said.

Police said comments had been made regarding the way Brito had pulled into a parking space. That resulted in a fistfight followed by the shootings, police said.

Lopez, who had fled on foot with another man, was shot to death down the block on Joliet Avenue near Joliet Road at 1:40 a.m. Feb. 17, police said.

Following an intense investigation by law enforcement officials, Brito was taken into police custody in Chicago on Feb. 18.

The Major Case Assistance team assisted McCook police with the investigation. This was the first murder in McCook since 2006, police said.

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