Man charged with February murder was suspected of another killing in 2020, but detectives said the case was too weak: Chicago police records

Chicago — One of two men accused of murdering a man in Douglas Park last month was linked to a similar murder two years ago, but Chicago police detectives said their case wasn’t strong enough to present to prosecutors for approval, according to Chicago Police Department records.

Nicholas Samudio, 22, is currently held without bail, accused of shooting and killing a man who was walking home after parking his car in the 2700 block of West 18th Street on February 26. Moses Maldonado, 21, who had been on parole since mid-October, is also charged with the crime.

Insufficient evidence

Around 1 a.m. on December 30, 2020, Jean Carlo Cobian was found lying in the street in the 3400 block of South Archer with a gunshot wound to the back of his head. Cobian’s car was parked nearby, and his family said he was on his way home.

“I thought it was an accident, like, somebody ran him over, you know,” his mother told NBC Chicago at the time. “I didn’t expect someone shot him. When the detectives told me the following day, I was like, they shot him?”

Nicholas Samudio | Chicago Police Department

Six weeks later, Chicago police arrested Samudio after they allegedly found a bullet inside his bookbag while they investigated a double-parked car in the 2800 block of South Sawyer, according to CPD records.

But the officers said they had another reason for arresting Samudio, too, writing that he had been “positively identified as taking part in the murder of” Jean Carlo Cobian.

He was not charged, though. Detectives found “insufficient evidence to present [a] felony case” to prosecutors, the police report said.

That was the 17th time Chicago police had arrested Samudio since he turned 18 about three years earlier. He has never been convicted of any crime, prosecutors say.

Charged with murder

Shortly after 2 a.m. on February 26, Tomas Villa parked his car in the 2700 block of West 18th Street and started walking home, crossing behind a Chrysler 300 that was passing by.

As he got to the sidewalk, Moses Maldonado opened fire on him from the front passenger seat of the Chrysler, prosecutor Anne McCord said during a bail hearing earlier this month. Villa dove for cover between two parked cars.

Samudo got out of the Chrysler’s back seat and shot Villa “several times” while he was on the ground, McCord said, as Maldonado continued firing at Villa from the car.

A surveillance camera recorded the shooting, but the gunmen cannot be identified from the footage. However, Chicago police detectives who tracked the car’s movements before and after the shooting found surveillance video from a liquor store and another location that helped them identify Maldonado and Samudio, said McCord.

Several hours after the murder, the Chrysler sped away from Chicago police detectives who tried to pull it over. Samudio threw a gun from the car as the chase progressed, McCord said. Cops recovered the firearm and determined that it was the same weapon that ejected bullet casings found near Villa’s body.

The Chrysler eventually stopped, and police arrested Maldonado and Samudio. The car’s driver, who was also driving the Chrysler at the time of Villa’s murder, identified both men as the shooters, McCord said.

Samudio’s defense attorney said he has Down Syndrome and worked for a demolition business and as a furniture mover. Maldonado has a child on the way.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is