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:

    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:

      Rodolfo Pantojas-Juarez

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

        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:

          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:

            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.