Chicago woman found guilty of Naperville man’s murder

A former Chicago woman has been convicted in the 2018 murder of a Naperville man, the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office announced Friday. She was also found guilty of armed robbery with a firearm.

Candice Jones, 43, is one of three suspects arrested and charged in the murder. Her son and co-defendant, Ernest Collins, 27, of Rockford, was convicted of first-degree murder and armed robbery with a firearm on Sept. 29. The third suspect, and Collins’ girlfriend, Cassandra Green, 26, of Rockford, entered an agreed guilty plea deal to one count of armed robbery with a firearm on Aug. 19, 2022, in exchange for her cooperation and testimony.

The Naperville resident, Michael Armendariz, was reported missing on Jan. 18, 2018. Authorities then discovered Jones had plotted a scheme with the two other suspects to rob the man with a gun.

Armendariz had received a Snapchat message from Green around 9:11 p.m. on Jan. 14, before she picked him up from his apartment complex and drove away. Shortly after, Collins, who was hiding beneath a blanket in the back of Green’s 1999 Ford Explorer, emerged and shot the man twice in the back of the head.

The two then drove to Jones’ home in Chicago and, with Jones’ help, placed Armendariz’s body in a garbage can in her garage, authorities said. Collins and Green took his keys from the body and burglarized his apartment the following day. The garbage can was later moved to the garage of a vacant house near Jones’ home. The victim’s body was found months later in a recycling container in Chicago.

Jones was convicted following a four-day-long trial presided over by Judge Michael Reidy. She has been in custody at the DuPage County jail since Feb. 9, 2019, when bond court granted the state’s motion to deny bond. She is now facing up to 75 years in prison and is scheduled for her next court appearance on Dec. 18, for return of the presentence report and filing of post-trial motions.

Collins’ next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 29, and he faces up to life in prison. Green was sentenced to 21 years as part of her plea deal. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 13.

• Daily Herald staff writer Susan Sarkauskas contributed to this report.


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