It will be a new year before a Chicago Heights man, who stands accused of fatally shooting his Hometown girlfriend, is back in a Markham courtroom.
Attorneys are still exchanging evidence in the case against George Kleopa, 33, whom authorities say shot and killed 30-year-old Michele Peters, his live-in girlfriend and the mother of his two small children in March.
Peters was found fatally shot with a gunshot wound to the face in the Chicago Heights home she shared with Kleopa on March 6. Kleopa called 911 to report that Peters shot herself, according to the criminal complaint, but authorities have said at previous hearings that Kleopa's story has changed since the initial report.
Family and friends say the young mom, formerly of Hometown, was preparing to leave Kleopa and move back to the Oak Lawn area with their children, before her death.
Kleopa has pleaded not guilty to six counts of felony murder and is out on a $2 million bond.
He appeared in Judge James Rhodes' courtroom in Markham on Tuesday, Nov. 20. Kleopa didn't speak during the short hearing and his attorney, Andrew Weisberg, had no comment following the hearing.
Several of Michele's family members, including her mother Catherine Peters, attend every hearing in the long process that is proving to be long and tiring.
As the holidays approach, Catherine Peters and her family are embroiled in another battle: who now live with Kleopa's sister in California.
But there has been some progress, Catherine Peters told Patch after Tuesday's hearing. She has spoken with her grandsons and there has been discussion about the boys visiting for Christmas. She has only seen Alex, a toddler, once since her daughter's death. She hasn't seen the older boy, Georgie, 7, at all but she said Kleopa's sister has been nice enough to let her speak with the boys.
"I just want my boys to have a good Christmas," Catherine Peters said. "I just need to put my arms around them. I'm the closest thing they have to their mother and they need to see me."
Kleopa's next hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. on Jan. 7.
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