By Adam Townsend, San Clemente Patch Editor
SAN CLEMENTE, CA -- Custody proceedings are moving ahead to determine the fate of two young boys whose father allegedly shot and killed their mother in Chicago Heights this spring.
A hearing is set for Monday afternoon in the Lamoreaux Justice Center in Orange in which Rea and Jason Richmond of San Clemente, CA, are seeking custody of the boys. They are the sister and brother-in-law of George Kleopa, 33, who is currently out on bond on charges of shooting his live-in girlfriend and mother of his sons, Michele Peters, 30, in March.
Peters' parents -- the children's grandparents -- Dave Bird and Catherine Peters have filed similar assertions of custody rights in Cook County family court.
Kleopa and Michele Peters had been a couple for 14 years and had two young sons together. Witnesses reported that on the night of her death they heard the couple arguing about Kleopa seeing another woman, according to statements in court hearings.
Chicago Heights police said that Kleopa changed his story several times of how Peters came be to fatally shot in the face when he was first taken into police custody in March, a Cook County prosecutor told the judge at Kleopa's arraignment.
Kleopa allegedly told police that Peters had shot herself, then said that Peters was bringing him the gun for him to clean and "it went off."
The boys' grandmother, Catherine Peters, flew out for the custody hearing in Orange County on Sunday. The slain woman's mom claims to have had one brief visit with Alex, 18 months, since her daughter's death. The older boy, Georgie, 7, is alleged to have been shipped off to California in the days immediately after the shooting.
Michele Peters' family have been vocal in the news media about their situation. The Richmonds so far have declined requests for comment.
They did not immediately respond to calls this weekend seeking comment on the Monday hearing.
Currently, attorneys in Illinois are preparing for trial; Kleopa has pleaded "not guilty" to the charges.
-- Oak Lawn Patch Editor Lorraine Swanson and Bridgette Outten contributed to this report.