Court Watch: Hate Crime Defendants to Challenge Alleged Victim's Innocence

Also, prosecutors looking to link alleged Frankfort burglars with footprints.

The Southland's major criminal and civil cases heard in Cook County and Will County courts this week.

Leading the Docket

Cook County

OAK LAWN — Trial for two men charged with robbery and hate crime following the alleged beating of a lesbian woman has been pushed back one month to give attorneys more time to review evidence. In 2010, Hickory Hills police said Mohammed Shaban, of Hickory Hills, and Akram Alshoweat, of Oak Lawn, yelled anti-gay slurs while punching, kicking and whipping a woman inside a restaurant.

Defense attorneys dropped a DVD into the evidence pool Tuesday that's intended to challenge the woman's presumed innocent role in the fight. Michael Monaco, an attorney for Alshoweat, said she is a former Olympic mixed martial arts fighter. A jury trial is slated to begin Feb. 8, 2012, with a final pretrial hearing on Jan. 4.

OAK FOREST— Judge Frank G. Zelezinski is looking at prosecutors to conclude investigations against Nicholas Sord by the next pretrial hearing in late January.

Sord, of Orland Park, is accused of . The Cook County Sheriff’s Office said Sord was nearly three times over the blood-alcohol limit when he lost control of his SUV near 147th Street and Oak Park Avenue. His bail was set $2 million—10 percent of which he has posted to get out of jail.

Will County

FRANKFORT — Prosecutors said they need more time to test footprints left by two men charged with residential burglary following the lock down of several Frankfort schools and neighborhoods.

Ira D. Cunningham and William Jenkins remained in jail Friday on $200,000 bail. Against the advice of his public defender, Cunningham petitioned Judge Sarah Jones for an earlier trial date. Jones said it was in Cunningham’s best interest to be patient with the pretrial process and ordered both men back in court on Jan. 13, 2012. Cunningham also faces drug-related charges from an alleged cocaine delivery in early 2011.

On the Docket Next Week


Rodney Julun, who's accused of murdering a New Lenox Township man and robbing his home and property over the course of several days while the man’s body decayed.

Steven Sly, of Aurora, who allegedly told police he thought the Mokena girl he slept with was actually 16 years old.


Dennis Dodson, a drifter who pleaded not guilty to .

Prosecutors have finished gathering and exchanging evidence against Michael T. Kelly, a former Village of Oak Lawn employee accused of beating and choking a teenage girl.

After sealing documents related to the investigation from the public, pretrial hearings continue for .

David Reed and John White, .

An attorney for Dawn Hamill, owner of Dazzle's Painted Pastures, is set to contest the search warrant that led to 38 counts relating to cruel treatment of animals.


Nicholas Gorny, who pleaded not guilty to his involvement in a DUI accident that killed a 70-year-old Tinley Park woman.


Looking for more crime news?

Denise Du Vernay December 18, 2011 at 03:55 AM
I'm curious how a woman's history as an Olympic athlete changes or challenges the fact that men yelled anti-lesbian slurs at her while they kicked, punched, and whipped her. It will be interesting to see how that case plays out.
BlackHawks Fan December 19, 2011 at 08:53 PM
I agree Denise. Maybe that is why it took two big guys to beat her up!!! How sad. They wouldn't want me on their jury.
Denise Du Vernay December 20, 2011 at 06:40 AM
Glad to hear, Blackhawks Fan! I'm still confused about this. I'm guessing that they're going to say it was a fight and not an attack? In any case, I hope she got a few good jabs in!


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