For the next few months, it's possible that pre-trial hearings in the murder case against George Kleopa, 33, will be as brief as the one held in a Markham courtroom on Thursday, Oct. 4 as attorneys for both sides exchange evidence and prepare their arguments.
A Chicago Heights resident, Kleopa has been accused in the March 6 fatal shooting of his live-in girlfriend and the mother of his two young sons, 30-year-old Michele Peters.
Peters was found fatally shot with a gunshot wound to the face in the Chicago Heights home she shared with Kleopa. He has pleaded not guilty to six counts of felony murder and was released from custody on $2 million bail in August.
Kleopa made his appearance in a black suit and wearing glasses in front of Cook County Judge James J. Rhodes alongside his attorney.
As with every hearing, Peters' mother Catherine Peters was in the courtroom. But this time, she waited for Kleopa after the appearance, telling Patch that she wanted to speak to him about getting Michele's things and seeing her grandchildren.
But when Catherine Peters approached Kleopa as he, his attorney and another man exited the courtroom, Kleopa only looked at her briefly and stayed silent. Kleopa's attorney quickly whispered something to Kleopa and the trio moved past Catherine Peters.
"He wouldn't talk to me," said Catherine Peters, who has taken a custody fight to claim her two young grandsons public. She said the two children, 18-month-old Alex and 7-year-old Georgie, have both been taken to live with Kleopa's sister in California. The sister has now filed for guardianship, Catherine Peters added. The next court date in the custody issue is Oct. 16, she said.
Catherine Peters said she has also been on something on a media blitz since the custody battle and the case against Kleopa have been moving forward.
"[Michele] is not gonna be pushed under rug," Catherine Peters vowed. "She is not gonna be forgotten about."
Kleopa and his attorney declined comment when approached by Patch. He is scheduled to be back in court on Nov. 20.