EDWARDSVILLE — A Granite City woman was sentenced Monday to 22 years in prison for the 2013 murder of Kaitlin Juenger.
In a press release, Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons said Breanna D. Maldonado, 21, was convicted by a Madison County Jury on March 4 for the murder of Kaitlin Juenger, 23, during an argument at a QuikTrip in Granite City.
Granite City police were dispatched to the scene of a reported altercation at 1:33 a.m. Oct. 6, 2013. Upon arrival, officers found Juenger lying on the ground near a vehicle in the parking lot, where she was being attended to by several Gateway Regional Hospital nurses. The investigation revealed Maldonado was driving a 26-year-old man to the hospital for treatment from an injury he suffered earlier in the evening when she, Antonio M. Carlin, 21; the male and another passenger, a 20-year-old woman, stopped at the gas station. A verbal altercation began between the passengers and other people at the business. Carlin stabbed Valenzuela in the abdomen while Maldonado stabbed Juenger through her car window before Maldonado drove away. Juenger, who was unarmed, suffered a fatal stab wound to her chest and was pronounced dead at the scene shortly before 3 a.m. An investigation into revealed the parties involved in the confrontation that led to the stabbings had links to rival gangs.
“The death of this young victim is tragic and never should have happened,” said Gibbons, offering his condolences to the victim’s family. “The forgiveness offered to the defendant by Kaitlin’s mom in court today is a powerful testimony to the strength and faith of this family. I pray that they will find peace.”
Gibbons recognized the work of his Assistant State’s Attorneys Crystal Uhe, chief of the Criminal Division; and Josh Jones, of the Violent Crimes Unit, for their successful prosecution of Maldonado. The defendant will be required to serve the entire sentence handed down by Circuit Judge Kyle Napp.
“I would like to thank Judge Napp for her consideration of all the facts and law in this case and for ensuring that this violent defendant will be locked up behind bars for a long time,” Gibbons said. “I am hopeful that the conviction and sentence in this case will provide justice for the family, friends and loved ones of Kaitlin.”
Gibbons also thanked the Granite City Police Department, Madison County Coroner Steve Nonn, and all of the medical personnel who assisted with the case.