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Life in prison for 3rd of 3 men convicted in home invasions, kidnappings, torture, shootings, homicide over 20-days

Ivan Santiago

MILWAUKEE — The third of three men from Milwaukee charged in a series of home invasions, kidnappings, torture, shootings, and a homicide — crimes that took place within a 20-day span — between Oct. 11 and Oct. 31, 2017 was sentenced to 70 years in prison Friday, July 19.

A jury found Ivan Santiago, 24, guilty in May on the following counts:

  • Attempted armed robbery, as party to a crime
  • First degree recklessly endangering safety, as party to a crime, use of a dangerous weapon — two counts
  • Possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony
  • Possession with intent to deliver THC, greater than 200 to 1,000 grams
  • First degree intentional homicide, as party to a crime, use of a dangerous weapon
  • Armed robbery with use of force, a party to a crime — two counts
  • Burglary while armed with a dangerous weapon, as party to a crime — two counts
  • Possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony

He was acquitted on two counts.

In court on Friday, Santiago was sentenced to serve life in prison, plus 25 years.

The sentence breaks down as follows:

  • Attempted armed robbery, as party to a crime: Five years in prison, four years’ extended supervision
  • First degree recklessly endangering safety, as party to a crime, use of a dangerous weapon: Five years in prison, four years’ extended supervision (consecutive)
  • First degree recklessly endangering safety, as party to a crime, use of a dangerous weapon: Five years in prison, five years’ extended supervision (consecutive)
  • Possession of a firearm by a felon: Two years in prison, two years’ extended supervision (concurrent)
  • Possession with intent to deliver controlled substance — THC, greater than 200 to 1,000 grams: Two years in prison, two years’ extended supervision (concurrent)
  • First degree intentional homicide, as party to a crime, use of a dangerous weapon: Life in prison, eligible for parole after 45 years
  • Armed robbery, use of force, as party to a crime: 10 years in prison, eight years’ extended supervision (consecutive)
  • Burglary while armed with a dangerous weapon, as party to a crime: 10 years in prison, eight years’ extended supervision (concurrent)
  • Armed robbery with use of force as party to a crime: Five years in prison, five years’ extended supervision (concurrent)
  • Burglary while armed with a dangerous weapon, as party to a crime: Five years in prison, five years’ extended supervision (concurrent)
  • Possession of a firearm by a felon: Three years in prison, three years’ extended supervision (concurrent)

Rodolfo Pantojas-Juarez

Rodolfo Pantojas-Juarez, 26, in February pleaded guilty to three charges:

  • Burglary while armed with a dangerous weapon, as party to a crime — two counts
  • Felony murder

Pantojas-Juarez was sentenced to 25 years in prison and five years’ extended supervision in March.

Marco Felipe

Marco Felipe, 25, in October 2018 pleaded guilty to three charges:

  • Armed robbery, as party to a crime
  • Burglary while armed with a dangerous weapon, as party to a crime
  • First degree recklessly endangering safety, as party to a crime, use of a dangerous weapon

In April, Felipe was sentenced to serve 17 years in prison and 11 years’ extended supervision.

According to the 20-page criminal complaint, the three men were accused of being associated in some way with the following crimes in Milwaukee between Oct. 11, 2017 and Oct. 31, 2017:

  • Home invasion near 12th and Holt (Oct. 11)
  • Home invasion near 30th and Hayes (Oct. 19)
  • Kidnapping near 8th and Cleveland (Oct. 24)
  • Shooting a couple blocks south of 13th and Howard (Oct. 24)
  • Shooting near 32nd and Lincoln (Oct. 30)
  • Homicide of Humberto Varela-Cabaellero near 7th and Becher (Oct. 30)
  • Home invasion near 14th and Manitoba (Oct. 31)

According to prosecutors, police found a 9mm handgun at Santiago’s home. Police said spent casings at five scenes were connected to the crimes — one of those near 32nd and Lincoln. Police said Santiago fired the gun found at his home at a victim, who suffered four gunshot wounds, but survived.

Shooting at 32nd and Lincoln

Police also connected the gun to a homicide scene at 7th and Becher. Humberto Varela-Caballero, 30, died after prosecutors said Santiago and Pantojas-Juarez killed him while committing an armed robbery.

Homicide near 7th and Becher

Jair Varela

“He was just like my dad. He took care of my family,” said Jair Varela, Varela-Caballero’s brother at Zizi’s Pizza, where he worked alongside his late brother. “I don’t wish this to no one. It’s so hard.”

Varela said his brother was killed as he brought food home to his pregnant girlfriend.

Humberto Varela-Caballero

Santiago was also connected to gun casings found at a shooting scene involving two Milwaukee Department of Public Works (DPW) employees.

Prosecutors said Felipe was also connected to a number of crimes, and said he admitted to his involvement in two different home invasions in a 12-day window.

So why do it? Several witness statements indicated Pantojas-Juarez owed money to a Mexican cartel, and had one-and-a-half months to pay back his debts.

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