Author; Jim Newton

A North Chicago man has pleaded guilty to Lake County’s first murder of the year, a beating death in North Chicago prompted, officials said, by the defendant’s discovery of the victim sexually abusing a young girl during a party.

Andy R. Vazquez, 23, pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder involving provocation in the Jan. 1 death of Daniel Arriata, 24.

Both men were North Chicago residents, and had been friends before the fatal incident occurred, according to defense attorney James Schwarzbach.

Vazquez had also been charged with three counts of aggravated battery, which were dismissed as part of the plea deal

Under the agreement, Vazquez must serve 40 months of periodic imprisonment, previously known as work-release, and four years of intensive probation with several conditions and restrictions.

The two sentences will run concurrently, so when Vazquez has finished his periodic imprisonment, he will be on intensive probation for the remainder of the four-year sentence. He is being given credit toward the sentence for 248 days already served in the Lake County jail since his arrest.

“I think it’s a just resolution, considering the circumstances and facts of the case,” said Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim, who prosecuted the case personally.

Nerheim outlined facts of the case Tuesday before Lake County Circuit Judge Victoria Rossetti. He said that Vazquez was hosting a birthday party on New Year’s Eve and Arriata attended as a guest.

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