CHICAGO — Prosecutors this week accused a Lake County man of murdering a Chicago man as the victim backed into the garage at his Northwest Side home in June. Chicago police officers said they found two rifles and two handguns, including one used in the murder, inside the car Anthony Jacobson, 22, was driving when they arrested him Tuesday.
During Jacobson’s bail hearing, prosecutor Neena Scaria said an accomplice who remains at large saw the victim, 38-year-old Steve Renteria, walk into a Walmart in Belmont Cragin around 2:30 p.m. on June 16.
Phone records show the accomplice called Jacobson right after he saw Renteria. Jacobson arrived at the Walmart while Renteria was still inside the store, Scaria said.
Jacobson waited outside the Walmart in a stolen Audi and followed Renteria as he drove to a nearby grocery store. Once again, Scaria said, Jacobson sat in the Audi in the parking lot while Renteria went inside.
While Renteria was inside the store, the accomplice got out of a car two blocks from the grocery store and ran to the store’s parking lot, where he climbed into the Audi with Jacobson, Scaria alleged.
Renteria returned to his car and Jacobson followed him with the accomplice in his passenger seat.
Surveillance videos showed Reteria back into his garage on the 5000 block of West Altgeld shortly after 3 p.m. As he did, the Audi pulled down the alley, and the Audi’s driver got out and took cover behind the Audi.
A second video, which also had audio, revealed two bursts of gunshots were fired, Scaria said. Chicago police officers found 34 shell casings at the shooting scene, 17 from a 9-millimeter firearm and 17 from a rifle.
Renteria was shot multiple times and died. The Audi’s driver, allegedly Jacobson, returned to the car and sped away.
Scaria said Jacobson’s phone pinged at all relevant locations before and during the murder, according to a transcript of Jacobson’s bail hearing. She did not offer a motive for the murder.
After the murder, Jacobson spent the night at a hotel in Rosemont. While he was there, Rosemont police spotted the stolen Audi and learned that it was wanted in connection with Renteria’s murder. They impounded the car. Investigators later determined that Jacobson’s phone connected to the Audi’s infotainment system on the night before the murder, Scaria said.
Police caught up with Jacobsen at a gas station in the 6000 block of West Addison on Tuesday afternoon. He was in a stolen car, Scaria said, adding that he struck two cops with the vehicle as he tried to escape.
Inside the car, police found a loaded rifle wedged between Jacobson’s right knee and the center console, according to Scaria. She said another loaded rifle was on the rear floorboard near 22-year-old Richard Palacios.
On the front passenger floorboard, not far from where Jacob Ledene, 19, was seated, police allegedly found a loaded 9-millimeter handgun.
Also on the passenger floorboard was an unusual 9-millimeter handgun with a gold slide equipped with a 50-round magazine and an automatic fire switch. Preliminary test results show it was used in the murder, Scaria said. Jacobson’s social media accounts allegedly contain “numerous” pictures of Jacobson holding the gold handgun and a rifle before and after Renteria was killed.
Neither Ledene nor Palacios is accused of participating in the murder.
Jacobson has no adult criminal convictions. Cook County court records show he was charged with felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle in 2019, but prosecutors dropped the case in September 2020.
Assistant Public Defender Katherine Moriarty argued that the state did not say that surveillance video clearly showed Jacobson at the murder scene. She said he supports a 3-year-old child by working full-time in renovation and demolition.
“There are just too many connections between this defendant and the victim in this case to be random,” Judge Maryam Ahmad said before holding Jacobson without bail at the state’s request.
He is charged with first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated battery of a peace officer, two counts of possessing a stolen motor vehicle, unlawful use of a machine gun, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, manufacture-delivery of cannabis, and possession of more than 15 grams of cocaine.
Palacios is charged with unlawful use of a weapon and misdemeanor criminal trespass to a vehicle. His attorney said he is training full-time to become a chef as he supports his only child.
According to Scaria, he was adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and robbery. Last year, he was convicted as an adult of attempted robbery and escape from electronic monitoring and received probation.
Noting that Palacios is accused of sitting next to a rifle, Judge Ahmad remarked, “This firearm is so big that you would have to be without vision to not see it next to you.”
“This is someone who not only can’t be near a firearm but can’t breathe on one,” Ahmad fumed, noting Palacios’ felony record.
She ordered him to pay a $12,500 bail deposit to be released on electronic monitoring. Separately, she held him without bail for violating probation until the judge handling that case reviews the new allegations.
Ledene is charged with unlawful use of a machine gun and misdemeanor criminal trespass to a vehicle. He was adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile for unlawful use of a weapon in 2019, possession of a stolen motor vehicle in 2020, and burglary in 2021.
Ahmad said he needs to pay a $9,000 bail deposit to go home on an ankle monitor.