The Southland's major criminal and civil cases heard in Cook County and Will County courts this week.
CHICAGO HEIGHTS - Chicago Heights Man Charged With Murder of Hometown Woman
Bail was set at $2 million for a Chicago Heights man accused of killing the mother of his two children. His next appearance is Aug. 15.
George Kleopa, 32, appeared before Cook County Judge Darron E. Bowden in Markham on Wednesday morning, where he was charged with first-degree murder of Michele V. Peters, 30, formerly of Hometown. Peters was found fatally shot with a gunshot wound to the face in the Chicago Heights home she shared with Kleopa on March 6.
NEW LENOX -
A New Lenox resident accused of fondling his students at Bremen High School returned to court Thursday.
Ross Larson, 26, of the 800 block of Western Avenue in New Lenox, was charged in January 2011 with indecent solicitation and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The case remains in pretrial status and Larson is scheduled to be back in court on Aug. 28.
A Cook County judge sentenced Michael T. Kelly, 55, , to two years probation and anger management classes after Kelly pleaded guilty to aggravated battery on Thursday.
OAK LAWN -
An Evergreen Park man and an Oak Lawn woman accused of sending sexually explicit photographs and text messages to a minor both appeared in court this week but will go before a judge for their next hearings separately.
James West, 26, remains in custody. He is represented by a public defender and will be back in court on Sept. 12. Lauren Papiez, 21, has retained private counsel and has a court date of Aug. 10.
ORLAND PARK - Man Charged in Wife's Murder Back in Court
Allan Kustok, 61, who has been charged with murder in the 2010 shooting death of his wife Anita “Jeanie” Kustok, appeared briefly in court this week. The assistant state's attorney in the case spoke to Kustok's defense about hiring a expert to challenge the prosecution's findings. A status hearing has been set for Aug. 31.
ORLAND PARK -
A Cook County judge will rule next month on whether a statement reportedly made by an elderly sex abuse victim will be allowed in court or barred because it's hearsay.
Robert Phelan, 57, of Oak Lawn is accused of sexually assaulting the 93-year-old dementia patient while she was treated at an Orland Park care facility, where he was working as a nurse, according to prosecutors.
The prosecution requested that a statement reportedly made by the woman to another nurse immediately after the alleged assault be admitted ; the defense said the statement doesn't qualify as an exception to the hearsay rule.
ORLAND PARK - 'Ghost Rider' Will Have Status Hearing Next Month
Justin Jachimiec, who authorities say dodged and mocked Orland Park police on a stolen motorbike and then uploaded video taken from his helmet on YouTube under the nickname “Orland Ghost Rider, will have a status hearing on his case next month. The hearing has been set for Aug. 28.
The trial of Mohammed Shaban, of Hickory Hills, and Akram Alshoweat, of Oak Lawn, was postponed Tuesday, July 24, the day the trial was set to begin.
Hickory Hills police said Shaban and Alshoweat battered and robbed a woman they believed to be a lesbian on June 28, 2010, outside a restaurant. The two are claiming self-defense.
Attorneys for the defendants say they want to review felony aggravated battery of a police officer charge against the prosecution's key witness, John Mitsis. They also intend to file a motion to admit circumstances surrounding the case as evidence against Mitsis' character. Judge Colleen Ann Hyland is expected to rule on the issue on Aug. 21.
NEW LENOX -
The trial of a New Lenox man charged with punching a Joliet man into a coma during a bar fight in July 2009 in Mokena was postponed until July 30. The defense attorney for Joseph Messina, 23, asked for more time to investigate exactly how copies of photos reportedly shot by the Mokena police were processed.
Previously, Mokena police said they couldn't find a crucial photo that showed Messina's hand following the incident. Later, a police officer said he didn't remember taking the photo.
The final five jurors and four alternate jurors were picked Tuesday for Drew Peterson's much anticipated murder trial. The jury that gets to hear Brodsky's Gettysburg Address Monday will be comprised of seven men and five women. but one was excused because he had already booked a prepaid vacation in August.
On the Docket Next Week
Evergreen Park woman
Trio charged in Oak Lawn home invasion
Oak Lawn doctor