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Ashford House 5 Leaves Plea Deal on the Table, for Now

Five Indiana men charged with assault in the Ashford House brawl have decided not to take a plea agreement offered by a Cook County judge and will instead move forward with a motion to suppress the vehicle stop where they were arrested.


Five Indiana men charged with several felonies for their involvement in the Ashford House attack case will spend the holidays in jail after declining a plea deal from a Cook County judge on Monday, Dec. 17.

But the offer is still on the table, an attorney for one of the men told Patch after Monday's hearing, and the five want to see if the judge will suppress their vehicle stop—and the evidence gathered from it, as well as the defendants' subsequent arrests—in January.

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John Tucker, 26; Cody Sutherlin, 24; Dylan Sutherlin, 20; Alex Stuck, 22; and Jason Sutherlin, 33, have pleaded not guilty to mob action, armed violence, aggravated battery and criminal damage to property. They all have been in custody since the May 19 incident.

Police say the five men—three of whom are brothers—stormed the Ashford House restaurant in Tinley Park with their faces covered . Authorities have said those targeted were affiliated with white supremacist movements, and defendants are said to be members of the . But attorneys for the men say the five were part of a group of 15 to 20 people planning a peaceful protest of the suspected white supremacists' meeting.

All five appeared in Judge Carmen K. Aguilar's Bridgeview courtroom on Monday in khaki-colored Cook County Department of Corrections garb and didn't speak. A couple of them, however, smiled and nodded toward supporters sitting in the courtroom as they were led back to lock-up after the hearing.

Lawyer Brian Barrido, who represents Dylan Sutherlin, said during an interview that the five defendants carefully considered the deal offered by the judge. He declined to discuss the specifics of the deal, but in previous interviews attorneys said Aguilar's offer was less than the seven-year prison sentence offered by prosecutors, but not by much.

READ: Website Asks Ashford House 5 Supporters to 'Pack Courtroom' Next Month

In January, Barrido is set to argue the motion to suppress the stop of the defendants' vehicle, the subsequent arrest and any evidence found in the car on the grounds that the stop was unlawful. Barrido said police only stopped the car on the vague description of a red Dodge Neon, which he noted is a very common vehicle.

"It's a very strong motion," the attorney said. "And case law is in our favor."

Meanwhile, the five "are doing fine," Barrido said. "They're excited about the motion being heard. They're in solidarity with this. … They know we have a long road ahead of us, and they're excited about proceeding."

If Aguilar grants the motion to suppress, statements made by two defendants also will be suppressed, Stuart Smith, attorney for John Tucker, said during an interview after the hearing. Though Smith and Jim Fennerty, attorney for Cody Sutherlin, agree the statements don't really hurt the defendants' case, "nevertheless, all that's gone" if the defense wins the motion, Smith said.

READ: Check Out Patch's Ashford House Attack Section for Complete Coverage

Undoubtedly, there is a lot staked on the motion, Barrido agreed.

And if the motion fails, the five may consider Aguilar's offer again. Barrido will argue the motion on Jan. 4 at 11 a.m. in Aguilar's Bridgeview courtroom.

 

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frank December 17, 2012 at 09:53 PM
They will find out that the Cook County judicial system mimics Indiana's courts, but only to a higher degree of stupidity and corruption. They should take the plea. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
tom December 17, 2012 at 10:38 PM
She is a fine judge who will give them a fair trial .
Charles December 18, 2012 at 01:22 AM
I don't know what they think will happen. They will not win the motion (these types of motions are almost never successful and their attorneys are of course only releasing information favorable to their side). Their attorneys are trying to stall the case which is quite normal in most cases. Hoping for witnesses to leave the area or lose contact with the system. None of what has been published by any paper is very flattering and does not jive with the idea that they were there simply to peacefully protest (most of what has been published said they stormed the place with no warning) and the judge has not appeared too sympathetic. Maybe they are hoping for a sympathetic jury, which I doubt they will find when the facts show they terrorized and beat numerous bystanders and destroyed someone's livelihood (I'm sure they think of that as colatteral damage) as well as the losers they were targeting. Despite the bravado of their attorneys who have up to now failed to better their circumstances these men will end up doing serious time in some bad places. Prison will be very dangerous for these men (most people are in jail for something related to dope and won't be too sympathetic or interested in their politics); not to mention they will be forever stained by having numerous felony convictions. I hope no one who disagrees with these thugs ever crosses their paths because they will be considered fair game by them. Food for thought.
Bigmike December 18, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Actually they will run in to some white supremacist groups. Should be fun.....
Mike Fangman December 18, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Don't worry Tom, he's just using this as an excuse to bitch about "Crook County" while not trying to bring about any kind of change.

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