The Southland's major criminal and civil cases heard in Cook County and Will County courts this week.
OAK FOREST — Attorneys and detectives are planning to meet soon to review what, if any, evidence remains outstanding against Norberto Rodriguez. A former Chicago cop, Rodriguez was charged in late 2010 in the murder of his estranged wife, Irma. Assistant state’s attorney Marybeth Duffy said a meeting between the defense, the state and law enforcement could mark the first step toward concluding the prosecution’s investigation and moving the case toward trial. Both parties return to court on May 1.
OAK LAWN — A plea deal may be reached next month for an Oak Lawn man accused of choking and beating a teenage girl, according to his attorney, Ed Barron. Michael T. Kelly, a former Village of Oak Lawn employee, has been indicted on two counts of aggravated battery and ordered not to have any contact with the girl. Pretrial hearings continue on April 17.
PALOS — Pretrial hearings were continued for Hui Zheng, who is accused of burning down his Chinese restaurant in Worth for the insurance, to April 23. He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of arson, and if convicted faces as many as 14 years in jail. Assistant state’s attorney Mary Lacy said the prosecution may have concluded its investigation by the next court appearance.
FRANKFORT — Prosecutors have decided not to revoke a plea deal with Michael Angel, a former L-W High School District 210 employee accused of trespassing on school grounds last spring, allowing the man’s one-year term of supervision to stand, court records show. As for the charge that Angel ran from a Frankfort police officer with a court warrant in November—after missing court hearings—Angel pleaded guilty and received 100 hours of community service, in addition to another 12 months of supervision, according to court records.
Meanwhile, Angel has pleaded not guilty to another charge alleging he stepped on school grounds in January to coach youth baseball without the school district’s permission and requested that the matter be set for a jury trial. He signed an agreement with administrators on Feb. 20, 2009, stating he was not allowed back on school property without the consent of the superintendent, according to the Will County Sheriff's Department. Angel has denied comment on all charges.
TINLEY PARK — Nicholas Gorny is set for trial on June 25 for his alleged involvement in a . Police said Gorny was more than four times the legal blood-alcohol limit when his car crossed lanes on a Will County road and struck a car driven by Loretta Falat, who died a month later at Loyola Medical Center. Gorny pleaded not guilty in November.
On the Docket Next Week
Trial starts for and resumes for a
Brandon Bergthold, a Frankfort Township man
Robert Phelan, employee of an Orland Park elder care facility
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