25 years for Old Town man who murdered friend over money dispute

Rotonio Esco (Chicago Police Department)

CHICAGO — An Old Town man who murdered his friend during a money dispute, then dragged the dying man’s body through their apartment building has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. Judge Jennifer Coleman ordered Rotonio Esco to serve 100% of his sentence, making him eligible for release in June 2045.

Security guards at Marshall Field Garden Apartments in the 1300 block of North Hudson reported hearing Esco tell Horton that Horton owed him money about 30 minutes before the murder in June 2020, officials said. Horton reportedly told Esco he didn’t have any money.

About 10 minutes later, around 2:10 a.m., security officers responded to calls of shots fired in one of the complex’s apartment buildings. One guard found Horton bleeding in a stairwell and went to get help. When she returned, Horton’s body was gone — and Esco was dragging it down an attached hallway, prosecutors said. Police later found eight shell casings in the stairwell.

Another security officer said he saw Horton gasping for air on the floor as Esco ran past the guard in the hallway. Shot in the chest, thigh, bicep, and both wrists, he later died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Arriving police officers saw Esco walking toward the housing complex exit with blood on his pants leg, officials said. He ran when the officers tried to ask him about the blood and dropped a phone, his ID, and a loaded 9-millimeter handgun as he sprinted away, according to prosecutors. Esco fled into another apartment building, entered an occupied residence through a broken door, accessed the roof, used a walkway to get on a neighboring roof, and then broke into the second residence, prosecutors claimed.

Inside the second home, a woman allegedly awakened to find Esco in her bedroom saying, “Get on the f***ing ground.” Police arrested Esco when he returned to the roof.

As officers stood Esco up to take him to a police vehicle, a shell casing fell from him onto the roof. Cops allegedly found twelve bloody $100 bills in Esco’s pants pocket

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