The Southland's major criminal and civil cases heard in Cook County and Will County courts this week.
Leading the Docket
FRANKFORT — The evidence against a man accused of trying to meet a father willing to prostitute 6- and 11-year-old girls includes 751 pages of Craigslist and e-mail correspondence, in addition to police reports and surveillance footage from the hotel where he was arrested, court records show. As of Monday, prosecutors had named more than 20 investigators from Cook and Will county police departments who participated in the Internet sting and could be called to testify at trial.
A resident of Frankfort Township, Brandon Bergthold was indicted on two counts of indecent solicitation and two counts of traveling to meet a minor earlier this year following a two-month investigation. Pretrial hearings continue on May 16.
FRANKFORT — Trial was set July 16 for Ira Cunningham, one of two men accused of causing a locking down of Frankfort area schools and neighborhoods, but prosecutors are looking to try both men at the same time. That depends in part on the second defendant, William Jenkins, who has been representing himself and who has filed motions alleging he was unlawfully searched and arrested. Both men are charged with residential burglary, burglary, theft and obstruction of identification. Jenkins returns to court on May 9.
NEW LENOX — A judge on Thursday denied Rodney Julun’s request to put a “gag order” on two men who could be called to testify against him during trial. Julun is accused of murdering Dwight Jones of New Lenox Township with a lampand then enlisting David Reed and John White to rob his home and property over the next several days. Evidently unaware that court hearings are open to the public, Julun said he does not believe he can get a fair trial because Reed and White have been leaking “their stories” to the media. The two men remain in jail, awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to residential burglary, and have never spoken directly with this newspaper. Either way, Judge Daniel Rozak told Julun that he could not “arbitrarily tell anyone” not to talk.
Rozak also denied Julun’s request Thursday to allow his fiancée and child visit him in prison. That privilege, the judge said, is only reserved for attorneys, medical personnel and family members with terminal illnesses. As negotiations for a possible plea deal continue, Julun’s attorney, Michael Renzi, will argue on May 18 to suppress certain evidence from trial.
NEW LENOX — Prosecutors are still waiting on the completion of computer forensics before negotiating a possible plea deal with Joseph Bozen, an Orland Park accused of soliciting sex from teens on the Internet. Another status hearing was set for June 7.
Michael J. Zimmerman, 27, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges filed last month, when he was arrested by Tinley Park police during a sex crime sting.
PALOS — When pretrial hearings involving a former Palos Park employee accused of videotaping a girl in the bathroom of his home continue next week, the defense expects to have all of the state’s evidence in hand. Rodney Albright remained in custody on Tuesday on a $3 million bond, indicted on three counts of filming child pornography, three counts of possession of child pornography and one count of unauthorized video recording.
Four young men are charged with the September 2011 murder of John and Maria Granat. No longer able to afford private counsel, one of them has opted for the free services of the Cook County Public Defender's Office.
On the Docket Next Week
David Baitman, accused of kidnapping and sexual assaulting a woman
Trials are slated to begin for the murder of Felix Jimenez and the sexual exploitation of a teen
Rodney Albright, accused of videotaping a minor in his bathroom
Brian Trainauskas, of Frankfort Township, charged with first-degree murder
Norberto Rodriguez, charged with first-degree murder
Trial is set to begin anew for the owner of Dazzle’s Painted Pastures Animal Rescue and Sanctuary
Allan Kustok, charged with first-degree murder
John White and David Reed are scheduled for sentencing on residential burglary charges
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