JOLIET (SUN TIMES MEDIA WIRE) - A southwest suburban man has been sentenced to life in prison for gunning down a man as he ate breakfast with his family in a crowded Joliet restaurant in 2013.
Christopher Thompson, 33, of Joliet was found guilty of first-degree murder in February after a jury trial, according to the Will County state’s attorney’s office.
Prosecutors said Thompson shot Gerrardo Franchini nine times at point-blank range while Franchini was eating breakfast with his wife, 5-year-old daughter and 4-year-old niece at Louis’ Restaurant at 1001 W. Jefferson St. about 9:30 a.m. Aug. 3, 2013.
The two men had been involved in an ongoing dispute when Thompson walked into the restaurant earlier that morning and saw Franchini eating, prosecutors said. The men exchanged heated words before Thompson left.
He returned 15 minutes later, partially covering his face with a shirt, and opened fire on Franchini, according to the state’s attorney’s office. Three shots hit Franchini’s face and six struck his body.
Despite his attempt to cover his face, multiple eyewitnesses — including Franchini’s wife — identified Thompson as the shooter and testified at the trial.
Judge Dan Rozak sentenced Thompson to life in prison plus 60 years Wednesday, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
“Christopher Thompson committed a crime of unrivaled brutality and he will never be free to walk our streets again,” Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said in the statement. “He gunned down an unarmed man in cold blood, and displayed a demonic disregard for the safety of the children and everyone in that crowded restaurant.”