Crime & Courts

Woodstock man receives prison sentence for gas station ‘ambush’

‘This was a vicious, brutal attack in the presence of his children,’ prosecutor says

A 38-year-old Woodstock man was sentenced to prison Wednesday for slashing another man’s tires and following him to a nearby gas station where he attacked the man with a baseball bat and stabbed him twice.

McHenry County Judge Michael Coppedge sentenced Ricardo J. Carreno Jr. to a total of eight years in prison for multiple counts of aggravated battery and a single count of violating an order of protection.

Coppedge found Carreno Jr. not guilty last month of attempted murder in connection the June 14, 2020, altercation.

Although the victim’s injuries were serious, prosecutors failed to prove that Ricardo J. Carreno Jr. intended to kill the man he hit over the head with a bat and stabbed twice with a pocket knife, Coppedge found.

The attack at the gas station at 315 N. Madison St., Woodstock, injured Carreno Jr., his ex-wife and the woman’s boyfriend.

“I felt like I was being pushed away from my kids and was heartbroken and didn’t know how to deal with it,” Carreno Jr. said at a sentencing hearing Wednesday.

After factoring in day-for-day credit as well as credit for any time Carreno Jr. already has served awaiting trial, he likely will serve about 3 1/2 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Schuman had asked Coppedge to issue the maximum sentence possible, 16 years in prison.

“This was a vicious, brutal attack in the presence of his children,” Schuman said.

Although the man and woman who were injured during the attack were present in court Wednesday, they chose to submit their victim-impact statements to the judge rather than read them aloud in court. Those statements generally contain information from the victim of a crime about how the incident impacted or continues to impact their life.

Prosecutors alleged at trial that Carreno Jr. slashed two of the other man’s tires and then followed him to the gas station. When the man got out of his new SUV to examine his tires, he noticed air leaking from the sidewalls and a masked man running toward him with a baseball bat, according to the man’s testimony at trial.

He then ran toward the bat-wielding man, later identified as Carreno Jr., and wrestled him to the ground. During the altercation, Carreno Jr. struck the man on the top of his head with the baseball bat and stabbed him twice in the arm, the man testified.

Carreno’s ex-wife, who up until that point had been in the victim’s car with her children, pulled a pocket knife out of Carreno Jr.’s hand, cutting her own in the process, according to the victim’s testimony at trial.

Carreno Jr.’s family and a former employer submitted letters on Carreno Jr.’s behalf Wednesday, and testified that he is a “loving and caring” father, representative “of what a real dad should be.”

Carreno Jr. was raised by his mother and an uncle after his own father died, family testified.

“I would love to keep making great memories with my kids,” Carreno Jr. said in court Wednesday. “... They are my pride and joy.”

Despite Carreno Jr.’s criminal history, his run-ins with law enforcement noticeably diminished once his children were born, Carreno Jr.,’s attorney McHenry County Assistant Public Defender Richard Behof said.

“I would submit to the court that him having children probably saved his life,” Behof said.

But Carreno Jr.’s feelings toward his to his family should have discouraged him from engaging in the 2020 attack, Coppedge said.

“This, in the court’s assessment, was a premeditated encounter with the victims in this offense,” Coppedge said.

Before heading back to the McHenry County Jail Wednesday, Carreno Jr. embraced his mother, who traveled from out of state for her son’s sentencing hearing.

“I messed up,” Carreno Jr. whispered to his mother. “It’s OK. It’s going to be OK.”

Katie Smith

Katie Smith

Katie has reported on the crime and courts beat for the Northwest Herald since 2017. She began her career with Shaw Media in 2015 at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb, where she reported on the courts, city council, the local school board, and business.