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Ashford House 5 Plead Guilty, Sentenced to Prison

Five Indiana men charged with assault in the Ashford House brawl pleaded guilty to three felony counts of armed violence against the advice of their attorneys Friday, Jan. 4 and were sentenced to various stints in prison.

Against the advice of their attorneys who believed they could win at trial, five Indiana men charged in the Ashford House attack pleaded guilty to three counts of armed violence Friday in a Bridgeview courtroom.

Judge Carmen K. Aguilar handed down the sentences in the attack, where the men stormed the Tinley Park restaurant wearing masks, hoods and gloves with axes and metal batons to confront a neo-Nazi group meeting on May 19 of last year. Charges of mob action, aggravated battery and criminal damage to property were dropped as part of the agreement. The five received: 

  • Cody Sutherlin, 23 - five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections
  • Dylan Sutherlin, 20 - five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections
  • Jason Sutherlin, 33 - six years in the Illinois Department of Corrections
  • John Tucker, 26 - 42 months in the Illinois Department of Corrections
  • Alex Stuck, 22 - 42 months in the Illinois Department of Corrections

All five men have been in custody since the May 19 incident and will receive credit for 233 days time served and will have to pay $587 in court costs, and will be on parole for two years upon release from prison. With good behavior, they are eligible for parole after serving 50 percent of their time.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant State's Attorneys Karin Swanson and Cheryl Galvin.

Defense for the five had been prepared to argue a motion Friday to get the men's arrest thrown out and evidence suppressed, said Brian Barrido, attorney for Dylan Sutherlin.

But in the end, the math just didn't add up for the defendants, Barrido said.

"They would rather just get it over with today," Barrido said, noting that the men were aware that it could take another year just to get to trial. And because of the logistics of trying five defendants, matching DNA and evidence etc., there was no way to tell how long the men could wait in jail.

Also, they apparently weren't willing to take a chance on being found guilty, where they would have been sentenced to the maximum of seven years -- the offer initially on the table with prosecutors. The five were also initially disappointed with Aguilar's offer

But the men all decided not to move forward with trial.

Five will 'support the continued struggle to fight racism'

Attorney Sara Garber, who represented Alex Stuck, said she was disappointed with the men's decision and shocked at the judge's sentence.

"All the Nazis at the restaurant have records, with violent felony backgrounds," Garber said. "They had weapons, guns in their cars."

By comparison the five men, who had staunch support from people who came to Friday's hearing from Bloomington and Gary, Ind., didn't have violent backgrounds and are community activists in Indiana. The five are members of . They also support local efforts such as community gardens and feed the homeless, Garber added.

Still, "we will support the continued struggle to fight racism," Garber said.

Her sentiments were echoed by James Fennerty, attorney for Cody Sutherlin. Fennerty called the sentences for the men "severe."

Family of the Sutherlin brothers weren't in court Friday, Fennerty said. The three men have a disabled father who lives in Bloomington, Ind. and hope they can serve their sentence in a prison where he will be able to visit, the attorney said.

"They are all still going to be anti-racist," Fennerty said, "against any form of racism and anyone who doesn't respect [people] because of their color."

Attorneys allege prosecutors had political agenda

The defense attorneys have long questioned the motives of the state's attorney's office intent on prosecuting just the five, when as many as 18 people entered the Ashford House Restaurant the day of the brawl.

"If they are so concerned with justice, why aren't they going after the other 13 people?" Barrido asked.

And both Garber and Barrido agreed that if a non-neo Nazi hadn't been injured in the attack, a plea agreement could have gone differently.

"That was the one and only sympathetic part to this story," Garber said. "That had to be a scary experience for people who were just trying to enjoy their lunch."

Stuart Smith, attorney for John Tucker, said in previous interviews that orders to prosecute the five so harshly were "coming from higher up." Smith didn't elaborate further, but one of the victims injured in the attack who wasn't part of the neo Nazi group is reportedly the brother of a longstanding Cook County official.

At the hearing Friday, Smith told Aguilar that he wanted it on record that Tucker was going against his advice.

"I was honored to represent this man," Smith said. "He is a hero."

The five will be moved to Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill on Monday and it is expected to take two weeks for processing, Barrido said. Barrido said the three Sutherlin brothers are hoping to be able to serve their sentences in the same facility.

The case is over but it appears the disappointment surrounding its conclusion will remain.

"Do I feel like justice was served here today?" Barrido asked. "Absolutely not."

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Richard DeVries January 04, 2013 at 07:56 PM
No kidding. Was there ever a doubt that these clowns did it.lol ahh the wheels of justice are slow indeed.
Maria Espinoza January 04, 2013 at 08:00 PM
But there are about a dozen other violent criminals who have not been apprehended! Does the plea deal require them to finger these people? If so, the wheels of justice in Tinley Park are a big joke, and we should throw out our city attorney and police chief.
Megan James January 04, 2013 at 08:01 PM
Thank goodness these 5 won't be wasting any more taxpayer money wasting our court's time. And what a crock this line is from their attorney! ""They're still anti-racists, still opposed to neo-Nazis," Fennerty added." Any person or group who singles out another group to attack them with violence because they are opposed to the group/person's beliefs IS A RACIST!!!! I do not support neo-nazis, but regardless of being for or against group's beliefs, it is never right to use violence as a means to show your opposition to them. Hopefully these 5 have all learned this lesson now and find more legal peaceful means to show their opposition to neo-Nazis or other groups these disagree with.
Maria Espinoza January 04, 2013 at 08:04 PM
(In earlier comment, of course I meant that if the plea deal does NOT require them to finger their fellow violent criminals then we need to get a new police chief and city attorney.)
Mike Fangman January 04, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Police have nothing to do with plea agreements. Once they've been formally charged, the case moves to the judicial phase.
Jon Georgis January 04, 2013 at 08:49 PM
Morons, yes. Racists, no. 1: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race 2: racial prejudice or discrimination — rac·ist noun or adjective Although their attorneys use of the comparison is a bit like an arsonist wanting praise because he always drove in a safe manner on the way to setting his next blaze.
Mike Fangman January 04, 2013 at 09:02 PM
That isn't racism. That's prejudice.
E. Shannon January 04, 2013 at 10:18 PM
Seems like judging people based on their beliefs and decisions is kinda the only way to appropriately judge anyone...
F.T.P January 04, 2013 at 11:34 PM
@Megan James but you live in a state that had slavery as a law. You miss the point! look at Chicago's long history of oppression as Mr Smith said "these young men our hero's" instead of being so negative you should do alot more reading before you post a comment....
F.T.P January 04, 2013 at 11:40 PM
Wow it's weird seeing all these negative comments as if Chicago's not the most segregated city in the U.S. Giving these young men jail time is a slap in the face to taxpayers,when we have a out of control Police force who's goal is to oppress and murder..
Harry Callahan January 05, 2013 at 12:47 AM
This group has ties to the Occupy group which were in town protesting in Chicago the same W/E they did their attack,and the Occupy group was supported by the Democratic Party and obama,even ms pelosi when to bat for them when they were protesting elsewhere when the police were to harsh on them.= a national news press conference.I happen to be scanning that Saturday when all this took place,and not to much later the TPPD. contacted the FBI WHY? on a disturbance in a local eatery,this incident goes alot deeper than we are being told.
The Reminder January 05, 2013 at 05:09 AM
Lemme get this straight, those dudes are "anti-racist"???? One has hair like fking HITLER himself, one is a skinhead, and the rest are neckbeards. WTF Buy a Mach 3 and fix your face, losers!
Joe Ski January 05, 2013 at 05:36 AM
Some really interesting opinions here...no need for facts sheeple..just keep posting..
Mike Fangman January 05, 2013 at 08:29 AM
I quote "The Blues Brothers" (which, btw, I was watching tonight): "Illinois Nazis."-Elwood "I hate Illinois Nazis."-Jake Unfortunately, these guys are just as bad as the groups they took action against.
April Gaede January 05, 2013 at 06:58 PM
The people who were attacked were not " neo Nazis", they were White Nationalists most likely Libertarians and probably voted for Ron Paul. I highly doubt a single one of them is actually a socialist. Though of course I wouldn't expect any of you to know that " Nazi" is short for National Socialist. Furthermore, race is based on genetics and the differences in intelligence, physical abilities, and social behavior is directly linked to genetics aka race. That is old news and denying it just makes you look like an uneducated fool. Yes these people are racists, they understand that differences in race do exist. That is the correct definition of a racist, nothing to do with the PC version in the dictionary now. Prejudice is " judging without prior knowledge" I am pretty sure that these people, especially living in Chicago, have plenty of experience around different races. Hence they are not practicing prejudice. If a group of people at a restaurant were gathered for a peaceful meeting and were homosexuals, Jews, Hispanics, or Blacks and were attacked like this it would be a hate crime enhancement. Fortunately for these anti Whites who attacked them, it is okay to attack pro White people in this day and age. April Gaede
April Gaede January 05, 2013 at 07:01 PM
BTw is any of you are tired of the multicultural mess that is Chicago, check this out. http://kalispellple.blogspot.com/
Harry Callahan January 05, 2013 at 08:27 PM
By the way folks,what happen to the Occupy protesters???the Democratic Party doesn't need them anymore helping their agenda with class warfare on the rich.Remember most of you that same situation occurred in 1930 Germany with Hitler,but the Jews were the ones being denounced because they control the money and busineses,and we all know what happen after,don't we?????? GOD BLESS AMERICA!
April Gaede January 05, 2013 at 09:06 PM
These people are terrorists, they have no problem with assaulting anyone who doesn't believe as they do.
April Gaede January 05, 2013 at 09:08 PM
We all judge, we judge by prior experiences with that race or type of person. It is natural and it is just. I believe it is part of evolutionary skills for survival.
F.T.P January 05, 2013 at 09:19 PM
Hey lets just go back to the Slavery days of the 1800 but instead of blacks being the slaves how about you white people!
Bob Laird January 05, 2013 at 10:02 PM
FTP. Enough with the slavery crap. It was WRONG, but it happened, stop beating that dead horse. If they weren't captured by their own people, then sold to the Brits, then brought here, and then a whole bunch of good ole boys died to free them, where would they be now? I know it was bad, but it's over, move on. Racism= bad. Knuckleheads disrupting some old folks breakfast and scaring the crap out of them or hurting them is almost as bad. What they did was wrong, let em pay. Next time they can catch them in a dark alley and have real fun. We'll read about it then.
Bob Laird January 05, 2013 at 10:11 PM
nah, let's go back to the days when colored people were dying of disease and murdering each other with tree limbs in Africa. Oops, that's still happening now, only they're using guns and drugs. I generally don't write this kind of nonsense until I read what FTP wrote. sorry.
Bob Laird January 06, 2013 at 04:01 AM
I really like aprils comment. we may say thay were not bias, we may try not to be bias, but deep down we all are, like it or not. I'm as guilty as any.
Bob Laird January 06, 2013 at 04:12 AM
crappola, I meant we're. we are.
DaleVM January 18, 2013 at 04:58 AM
So, you like to pre-judge people you don't even know? Isn't that prejudice on your part?
DaleVM January 18, 2013 at 05:05 AM
These hooligans, thugs and criminals belong behind bars. They hardly contribute anything to society.
Jeremiah Tatom April 02, 2013 at 12:52 PM
FTP your a retard whites were I slaved for over a thousand years by the Romans and then the Vikings and later by the catholic church in fact the word slave Comes from the word slav I /e Yugoslavia. Tthats were the. Vikings got their best prisoners from so enough with the slavery crap. Go back to school and try a history major this time. Now to the real point this is the uninteresting states of America. "We hold these truthes to be self evident that All men are created equal and arew bestowed upon by their creator curtain inalianable rights and among those rights are life liberty and the persuit of happiness". If you don't k ow what that is read the declaration of independence. Every body is intitled to their beliefs and nobody deserves to get beat for their thoughts or what they think. April if you are who I think you are I give you big props there aren't enough women like you any more. So In reality these guy are just some punk extremists like alqida. We will see bow anti racist they are in 5 years lmao
Rosenkr4nz February 05, 2014 at 05:41 PM
Who determines what is "racist" and what words we are allowed to talk? These clowns? Dissenting views and opinions are the hallmark of Democracy. These 4 left wing Marxists think we are in Communist Russia.
pompeybisc8@aol.com February 14, 2014 at 07:59 PM
God knows a well-meaning heart and rewards it accordingly. If they truly believed they were eradicating evil then they were justified, how many sat on their hands and allowed the Nazi's to regenerate until there were thousands, because they at one time only hated Jews, people felt they were exempt, then they went after the disabled, then the Catholics, then everyone that did not have German ancestry was considered "Unfit". WHEN DO YOU STAND UP ? AT WHAT STAGE DO YOU SAY NONE AMOUNG US SHOULD BE MADE TO FEEL VULNERABLE. RIGHT NOW IN POLAND AND EAST GERMANY ASIANS AND MUSLIMS ARE ATTACKED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT BY NEW ORDER NAZI'S. GO LOOK IT UP. I SAY GOD BLESS THESE YOUNG MEN. YOUR BELIEFS SHOULD NOT LEAD YOU TO KICK-IN MY FRONT DOOR.

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