Cuban refugee sentenced to 25 years

A Chicago man charged with multiple robberies along Missouri Boulevard in 2009 and found guilty last month of the charges against him by a Camden County jury was sentenced to 25 years in prison Wednesday.

Carlos Aguiar, 58, also known as Miguel Castillo, was found guilty of four counts of first-degree robbery and one count of armed criminal action.

He must serve 85 percent of this sentence.

The crimes occurred in May and June 2009.

The case, originally filed in Cole County, was moved to Camden County on a change of venue.

Aguiar, a Cuban refugee, was charged with forcibly stealing a cell phone from the manager of the Salvation Army Thrift store, while trying to rob the store at gunpoint on June 5, 2009.

Prior to the Salvation Army robbery, Aguiar is believed to have used guns and a knife in the earlier robberies.

Jefferson City police helped identify Aguiar as the suspect through the use of some facial-recognition software that helped Illinois authorities provide a name and cell phone number.

He was captured a few days later in Kansas City.

Officials said Aguiar also is known as Miguel Castillo, and under that name was convicted in 1991 of a 1988 murder in Chicago.

Police said he confessed, while the defendant said the police made up his so-called confession.

A decade later, according to Northwestern University’s Law School Bluhm Legal Clinic, Center on Wrongful Convictions, Aguiar’s attorneys presented affidavits to the Cook County, Ill., State’s Attorney’s Office that Aguiar was in police custody on an unrelated charge at the time of the murder.

In 2001, prosecutors dismissed the murder charges.

The Camden County jurors were not given that information during the three-day trial.

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