Bond in Mundo murder set at $2 million, Scott identified as shooter

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Two Parkland College students were arrested Tuesday for the murder of University student Vicente Mundo. 

Daniel Gonzalez, 21, of Cicero, and Reginald Scott, 21, of Champaign, were arraigned at the Champaign County Courthouse around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. 

Public Defender Pam Burnside of Urbana will defend Gonzalez and Scott, whose bonds are set at $2 million each. 

“Based on the evidence that we have, it appears there was an agreement between the victim, Mr. Mundo, and Mr. Gonzalez where Mr. Mundo was going to be bringing or providing cannabis to Mr. Gonzalez,” State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said. 

However, Gonzalez and Scott admitted they had previously planned to rob Mundo of a small amount of cannabis and any cash he had.

Police questioned Gonzalez after uncovering online correspondence and text messages between him and Mundo from 4 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 25, the day Mundo was last seen. 

When initially interviewed by the University of Illinois Police Department, Gonzalez lied, stating Mundo never showed up to his apartment, Rietz said. In truth, police were later told by Gonzalez that he and Mundo met in a parking garage at 301 E. Chalmers St., where Mundo lived. 

Scott hid in the trunk of Gonzalez’s car, while Gonzalez sat in the driver’s seat, and Mundo sat in the passenger’s seat. Scott then slid into the back seat of the car. When Mundo attempted to escape, Scott fired a single gunshot to the back of his head, which was later determined as the cause of death. 

Scott and Gonzalez then took Mundo’s cell phone, wallet, three bags of cannabis and his license plates. Reitz noted the bags of cannabis had not yet been recovered and the exact amount is unknown beyond the suspect’s description. 

Reitz said police are still investigating the extent of Mundo’s alleged cannabis activity. 

Police noticed that new seat covers had been placed on the driver and passenger seats in Gonzalez’s car, a 2000 Plymouth Neon. The car was attempted to be cleaned with ammonia. They also saw that the rear passenger window held characteristics leading them to believe that was where the gun was fired.

Gonzalez and Scott drove to dispose of the body by a roadside in Tolono, where it was discovered on Saturday morning by a woman walking her dog. 

After Gonzalez was questioned again, he confessed to his and Scott’s involvement. While police were executing a search warrant for Scott’s apartment, he returned home and was arrested in the parking lot. Scott was later interviewed by officers, when he admitted to his crimes.

The handgun that is believed to be the murder weapon was recovered Tuesday morning. Mundo’s car was recovered in Champaign Monday night. 

Julieta LaMalfa, Mundo’s sister, believes her brother and Gonzalez were acquaintances. 

“I think he met (Gonzalez) at the dorm rooms freshman year,” said LaMalfa. “I believe he was a student there. That’s when they met.” 

University spokeswoman Robin Kaler said Gonzalez attended the University from August 2012 to May 2014.

LaMalfa does not believe her brother knew Scott previously.

Gonzalez was charged with first degree murder, intent to kill and armed robbery. If convicted, Gonzalez faces a mandatory minimum of 35 years in prison with a maximum sentence of 75 years. 

Scott was charged with first degree murder, discharging a firearm and armed robbery. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 45 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. 

Both Scott and Gonzalez had no prior offenses. 

A preliminary hearing for a trial will take place Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. at the Champaign County Courthouse in courtroom B. 

“The prosecution of these two men will occur over the coming months, and the pain felt by Vicente’s family and friends will never cease,” University Chief of Police Jeffrey Christensen said in a statement. “But we hope this news brings some comfort and assurance that these two men are not a danger to others.”

Police agencies do not believe there is any connection between Mundo’s murder and the disappearance of Cristian Zamora, a recent graduate from the University. Zamora has been missing since Dec. 31.

Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb said the investigation for Zamora is ongoing. The police have searched Crystal Lake Park, near where Zamora was last seen. Cobb said there haven’t been many new leads in the case.

Charlotte Collins, Megan Jones and Marijo Enderle contributed to this report.