A Granite City woman faces up to 60 years in prison after a jury convicted her of murder Friday.
Breanna Maldonado, 20, of Granite City, was convicted of first-degree murder after a jury heard closing arguments Friday morning and deliberated for nearly four hours.
The fight took place in the parking lot of a Granite City QuikTrip about 1:30 a.m. Oct. 6, 2013, according to the Granite City Police Department. Police said Maldonado was driving a 26-year-old male passenger to the hopsital, with Antonio Carlin and a female passenger also in the car. They stopped at the QuikTrip, and an argument began between Maldonado’s passengers and two people in another car: Kaitlin Juenger and Hugo Valenzuela.
The argument escalated into a fight, during which Carlin stabbed Valenzuela and Maldonado stabbed Juenger. When police arrived, nurses at the nearby Gateway Regional Medical Center were attempting to treat the victims.
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Valenzuela survived his injuries. However, 19-year-old Juenger suffered a fatal stab wound to the chest and was pronounced dead at the scene. She was unarmed, according to police. Granite City police stopped the car a short distance from the scene and all four were taken into custody without incident.
Carlin has pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon, a Class 4 felony. His sentencing was postponed pending Maldonado’s trial, and faces probation up to 3 years in prison. Police investigation showed that most of the parties involved had links to rival gangs in the area.
“I want to thank the jurors for their keen attention to the fact of this case and for their verdict,” said Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons. “This defendant brought violence and destruction to our community, and now we can hold her accountable by punishing her severely.”
Madison County Circuit Judge Kyle Napp will sentence Maldonado in 6-8 weeks. She faces 20 to 60 years in prison, of which she will have to serve 100 percent. She has remained in custody since the incident at Madison County Jail.