New Judge Presiding Over Granat Murder Trial
Attorneys for men accused of murdering a Palos Township couple in September requested and received a new judge to handle the case.
Four men accused of killing a Palos Township couple will be tried in a new courtroom after three of their attorneys made a request to change judges last week.
On Monday, Cook County Judge Raymond Jagielski, presiding judge of the Fifth Municipal Courthouse in Bridgeview, ruled that the case will now be handled by Judge Neil Linehan.
John Granat, 17, Christopher Wyma, 17, Ehab Qasem,19, and Mohammad Salahat, 17, are charged with the beating and stabbing death of Granat’s parents on Sept. 11, 2011. They have pleaded not guilty.
Per state law, Jagielski said, the defendants were allowed to request a new judge and offer the names of four judges they did not prefer to hear their case.
Last week, Joel Brodsky, an attorney for Salahat, asked that Judge Colleen Hyland or Judge John Hynes, who has been handling the case up until now, be excluded. Attorneys for Granat and Wyma also asked to exclude Judge William Kunkle and Judge Joan O’Brien.
Changing judges is “a matter of heart,” Brodsky said after the hearing. “We’re looking for the right judge for the right issues. Some are more equitable than others; every case is different.”
While Brodsky wouldn’t say what it was about Hynes or other judges that he didn’t find “equitable,” he noted he was pleased with the appointment of Linehan, who had been on his short list of preferred judges.
Either way, he said, “The judge doesn’t change the facts of the case."
Meanwhile, the state has tendered over 500 pages of documents and nine DVDs, including the defendants' taped interviews, to defense attorneys and continue to exchange evidence, according to court testimony.
The next hearing is set for Dec. 29.