Court Watch: Trial Date Set for Hate Crime Defendants

Owner of Painted Pastures to contest search warrant. Attorney for Frankfort Township man accused of murder alleges Will County Jail is videotaping his private conversations with client.

Cook County

OAK FOREST—Norberto Rodriguez, who was accused late last year of murdering his estranged wife Irma and attempting to hide her body, is scheduled back in court on Jan. 12, 2012, to continue pretrial hearings. He pled not guilty this past January.

PALOS HILLS—A tentative trial date has been set for two men accused last summer of beating and robbing a Palos Hills woman they believed was a lesbian. Mohammed Shaban, of Hickory Hills, and Akram Alshoweat, of Oak Lawn, are scheduled back in court with attorneys on Dec. 13. If all pretrial issues have been addressed at that time, a jury trial will begin on Jan. 4, 2012. The state has at most four witnesses lined up, while the defense has at least two, according to courtroom testimony heard on Friday. Defense attorneys expect the trial to last no longer than 3 days.

TINLEY PARK—Dawn Hamill, the owner of Dazzle’s Painted Pastures Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, is scheduled back in court on Dec. 20 to contest the propriety of the sheriff’s search warrant, the statements therein, and the subsequent animal seizures, according to her attorney, Steven Decker. Hamill was charged with 38 counts relating to cruel treatment of animals and neglect of owner’s duties. “Her (business) license has not been restricted, revoked, altered or inhibited in any way, and the (Illinois) Department of Agriculture has determined it is within all appropriate standards,” Decker said, noting that Painted Pastures remains open.

Will County

FRANKFORT—George Andrews, an attorney for Brian Trainauskas, who was accused in 2009 of murder in Frankfort Township, is requesting that Will County Jail stop videotaping his conversations with his client, claiming it hinders their legal rights and potentially compromises their defense strategy. A judge will make a decision on Nov. 28 after listening to arguments from both sides. Kathy Hoffmeyer, a spokeswoman for the Will County Sheriff’s Department, said the jail does not record face-to-face conversations between attorneys and inmates, nor does it record conversations conducted over a long-distance video feed. However, she added, the jail does record phone calls.

Trainauskas was also charged this year with solicitation of murder after he allegedly approached a fellow inmate about hiring a third party to kill a Will County prosecutor and take the fall for his original murder rap. Trainauskas has dropped Andrews on the latest case and opted for the free services of a court-appointed public defender. “The poor man is just out of money,” Andrews said. “He’s been in custody for two years.”

TINLEY PARK—Prosecutors filed a subpoena on Wednesday for files and testimony from a MetLife Insurance employee who handled certain finances for Brian Younker’s ex-wife. Younker, the Tinley Park Park District board president and Orland Township highway commissioner, was . The next pretrial hearing is for Nov. 7.

On the Docket Next Week


Younker is scheduled back in room 314 at the Will County Courthouse before Judge Domenica A. Osterberger.


Nicholas Sord, an Orland Park man who was charged with aggravated driving under the influence and reckless homicide relating to the death of New Lenox resident Jessica Mejia on New Year’s Eve 2009.


Dennis Dodson, a drifter whose , has been behind the Home Depot in Orland Park.

Michael T. Kelly, a former vehicle maintenance employee for the Village of Oak Lawn, who police say beat and choked a 14-year-old girl.


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