Two Chicago men accused of strangling a mother and daughter will be held in the Cook County Jail with no bail as they face murder charges in court.
Robert Danno, 50, and Jose Fernardo Martinez-Hernandez, 24, were each charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts each of concealment of a homicidal death. Judge Kerry Kennedy ruled that neither would receive bail Tuesday morning at the Bridgeview Courthouse.
The events ending in the deaths of Mary Ann Urban-Danno and Theresa Urban started with an argument between Mary Ann and her husband Robert while at their southwest Chicago address, according to authorities.
“There was an ongoing domestic dispute between Robert and his wife,” Cook County Detective Eric Burnson said after the court hearing. “He started living in the basement with his friend (Martinez-Hernandez). The argument ensued. She came down into the basement and that’s when Robert attacked the victim.”
Martinez-Hernandez had been homeless before moving in with the Dannos. Both Robert Danno and Mary Ann Urban-Danno were unemployed at the time of the murders.
Martinez-Hernandez helped Robert Danno bring Urban-Danno to the ground, and he restrained her while Danno choked her to death, said Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Deno during the hearing.
Danno then went upstairs and choked Theresa Urban to death, according to authorities. The two men then left the house, and came back after nightfall when they loaded the bodies into the back of Urban-Danno’s PT Cruiser and covered them with blankets, Deno and Burnson said.
Danno then drove the PT Cruiser, with Martinez-Hernandez following behind, to the Cap Sauer Holdings forest preserve in unincorporated Palos Park, where Danno doused the vehicle’s front seats and the bodies with gasoline, lit it the car on fire and the two left the area, Deno said in court.
Law enforcement was able to recover the PT Cruiser’s license plate, which led them back to Danno’s home. He cooperated with police, though he initially denied the crimes, Brunson said. Danno said the murders were not planned ahead of time, according to Brunson, and didn’t give specific reasons as to why he also killed Theresa Urban.
“Just that she was in the residence at the time,” Brunson said. “She was elderly and sick, and suffered from dementia and various other illnesses.”
In the 10 years Robert and Mary Ann were married, it was within the last few they started fighting, according to Brunson. Neither Danno nor Martinez-Hernandez had prior crimes on their records.
Brunson said Danno didn’t give any specific reason for the murders.
“He was frustrated with the ongoing fighting,” Brunson said.
Both men gave video confessions to authorities where they admitted committing the murders and cover up, Burnson said after the court hearing.
Danno showed little reaction as Deno described the crimes in detail during the hearing, while Martinez-Hernandez was close to tears.
Brunson said both men showed remorse for the crimes.
Both men are scheduled to be back in court on Oct. 21 for indictments.
Originally posted 12:35 p.m. Tuesday, updated at 6:45 p.m.