The Southland's major criminal and civil cases heard in Cook County and Will County courts this week.
OAK FOREST — Norberto Rodriguez spent much of his time before Judge Luciano Panici on Thursday looking at the floor while attorneys discussed evidence that needed further review before his murder trial could commence. The former Chicago cop is accused of shooting and killing his estranged wife in 2009. He has a history of arrests related to drugs and violence, including attempted murder, which he defeated. He’s due back in court for another pretrial hearing on Feb. 14.
OAK LAWN — Pretrial criminal hearings involving three men accused of shooting a 24-year-old woman during an attempted burglary and home invasion in Oak Lawn were continued to Feb. 21. Timmie Walton, Keon Thigpen and Kennedy Clark have pleaded not guilty to several dozen counts related to attempted murder, armed violence, kidnapping and home invasion. A fourth man remains at large.
FRANKFORT — Attorneys for Darrell Stephenson asked a judge for another six weeks to examine the state’s evidence, some of which includes child porn that cannot leave the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office until trial. Accused of having sexual contact with a boy half his age, Stephenson, 24, has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts related to aggravated criminal sexual abuse and possession of child porn. He once coached youth soccer in Frankfort and surrounding communities, according to prosecutors.
Also out of Frankfort, pretrial hearings involving Michael Angel, a former Lincoln-Way High School District 210 employee accused of missing successive court dates and running from a police officer, were continued to March 9. Angel is also due back in court on Jan. 25 for his original case involving trespassing on school grounds. Prosecutors are seeking to revoke a plea agreement approved in August that included one year of supervision for Angel.
TINLEY PARK — Prosecutors have filed a list of 52 witnesses whose testimony could be used against Nicholas J. Gorny, who has pleaded not guilty to his involvement in a DUI accident in August that killed a 70-year-old Tinley Park woman. She died of injuries related to the accident on Sept. 27, 2011 — but has been included on a list of possible witnesses, alongside area doctors, police officers, firefighters and one of Gorny's relatives. Pretrial hearings resume on Feb. 7.
On the Docket Next Week
Brian Trainauskas, who faces and a plot to murder a Will County assistant state's attorney
Also returning in Will County—Joseph Bozen, accused of soliciting sex with minors over the Internet
Kevin Skaritka, charged with 14 counts related sexual abuse in Orland Park and Palos Hills
Michael Kroll, accused of tossing a more than 90-year-old woman out of her car and driving away
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