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Court Watch: Judge Refuses to Put 'Gag Order' On Possible Murder Trial Witnesses

Evidence comes in against man accused of soliciting sex from children through the Internet. Trial was set for one of two men, the search for whom caused a lockdown of Frankfort-area schools and neighborhoods last year.

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

Leading the Docket

NEW LENOXA 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 lamp and 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 to 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.

Cook County

PALOS

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.

Will County

FRANKFORTThe 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.

Also — 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 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.

TINLEY PARK

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.

PALOSWhen 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.

On the Docket Next Week

MONDAY

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

TUESDAY

Rodney Albright, accused of videotaping a minor in his bathroom

Brian Trainauskas, charged with first-degree murder

Norberto Rodriguez, charged with first-degree murder

WEDNESDAY

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

FRIDAY

John White and David Reed are scheduled for sentencing on residential burglary charges

 

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