5 'Attackers' Appear Before County Judge, 2 'Targets' Charged Separately
Five Indiana men were accused of felony mob action, among other charges, during a Monday afternoon court appearance. Two men who prosecutors say were targeted in the Ashford House attack were charged separately.
Bail was set Monday for five Indiana men who stood as a group in connection with a Saturday afternoon mob-style attack in Tinley Park.
Two among those targeted in the attack, who officials say are associated with white supremacist organizations, were also charged. They appeared before a judge separately.
Dylan J. Sutherlin, 20, Cody Lee Edward Sutherlin, 23, and Alex R. Stuck, 22, all of Bloomington, Ind.; joined Jason W. Sutherlin, 33, of Gosport, Ind.; and John S. Tucker, 26, of Spencer, Ind., in front of Cook County Associate Judge Terence B. Smith. A group of about a dozen showed in court to support the suspects. Several of them collectively gasped when the highest bail amount—$250,000 for Jason Sutherlin because of his criminal background—was set.
The men, three of whom are brothers, were charged with one count each of felony mob action, aggravated battery and criminal damage to property. Bail for Cody Sutherlin was set at $200,000 and that for Dylan Sutherlin, Stuck and Tucker was set at $175,000 each.
Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Mike Deno said the group was among 15 to 20 people who stormed the Ashford House restaurant on 159th Street in Tinley Park around 12:30 p.m. May 19. They were there to attack members of the Illinois European Heritage Association, whom defendants allege are associated with white supremacy forums WhiteNewsNow and StormFront, Deno said.
Assistant Public Defender David Colaris declined to comment after Monday's court appearance, as did those in the group who showed in solidarity on behalf of the five defendants. While leaving the courthouse, some yelled at reporters, some flipped off television cameras and others insisted the group of attackers that day numbered 15—not as many as 30, as others have reported.
Two men who were among those attacked were arrested, too.
Steven E. Speers, 33, of Grand Forks, N.D., was arrested that day on a warrant out of Dallas County, Texas, for possession of child pornography. Francis John Gilroy Jr., 65, of West Palm Beach, Fla., was charged with unlawful possession of weapons by a felon. Court documents indicate that Gilroy is a "transient."
Tinley Park Police Cmdr. Steve Vaccaro said the arrests were made "through information they learned" by talking with those attacked. Gilroy admitted to police that he had a loaded semiautomatic handgun in his car, according to court documents. He was convicted in 2002 of manufacturing marijuana in Lowndes County, Georgia, prosecutors said.
Assailants were "partially masked," Deno said, noting that they wore black scarves, hooded sweatshirts and other facial coverings while attacking the group of diners who sources say had made a reservation. Attackers were armed with steel batons and hammers, Deno said.
They drove from the scene in a red Dodge Neon, which was one of three getaway cars, according to Tinley Park police. Ashford House owner Mike Winston said Monday morning that the cars were parked behind the adjacent restaurant, Rocco's Little Italy.
Winston said he came from the kitchen area when he heard commotion in the restaurant that day and saw two men flipping tables in a dining area. Thinking the incident was isolated to the duo, he chased them and pinned one to the ground.
"If I knew there were 18 in the group, I wouldn't have done that," he said, adding that a cluster of five men began beating him while he detained the one assailant. He had a scrape on his head while working Monday but had not been hospitalized.
In court, assistant public defender Jack Verges pointed out scratches on Gilroy’s body and dried blood on his shirt, and then asked that, because Gilroy is both a victim and defendant, jail guards separate him from his accused attackers. Judge Smith said he would sign the order and set bail at $25,000.
Jack Norton, chief of the Fifth Municipal District Courthouse sheriff’s police, watched as about 15 of his deputies flanked Judge Smith’s courtroom.
“There will be no mob action in here,” he said.