Private Attorney Replaced with Public Defender in Granat Murder Trial
Four young men are charged with the September 2011 murder of John and Maria Granat. No longer able to afford private counsel, one of them has opted for the free services of the Cook County Public Defender's Office.
A private attorney for Christopher Wyma, one of four young men charged with the murder of John and Maria Granat, withdrew from the case on Friday because his client’s family says it can no longer afford his services.
John Russell leaves the case seven months after authorities first alleged that 17-year-old John Granat enlisted the help of Wyma, Mohammad Salahat and Ehab Qasem to beat, stab and rob his parents inside their Palos Township home.
At the time of their arrests, Granat and Wyma were entering their senior year at Stagg High School, Qasem was taking college classes, and Salahat was attending Oak Lawn Community High School.
They have each been indicted on 75 counts related to first-degree murder, home invasion and armed robbery.
As of this week, prosecutors had given defense teams more than 850 pages of reports and records, in addition to a dozen discs containing digital media. Because of the nature of the charges and the number of people involved, it could be several years before that evidence is presented at trial.
Status hearings continue on June 12. Meanwhile, Judge Neil Linehan appointed the Cook County Public Defender’s Office to represent Wyma.
An attorney with significant trial experience would be assigned to the case as soon as possible, assistant public defender Samantha Blake said.
Friday’s hearing was delayed because of what Cook County sheriff’s deputies described as a “minor accident” involving the bus that transfers prisoners from jail to court. Once in front of Linehan, the young men did not appear to be injured.
Some family members waited three hours to catch a glimpse of their loved one and to blow a kiss before they were quickly hauled away.
- Defense Lawyers Get More Evidence in Granat Killings
- New Judge Presiding Over Granat Murder Trial
- Accused of Double-Murder, Teens Plead Not Guilty
- Prosecutors: Son and Three Friends Plotted to Murder Palos Township Couple For Money, Bail Denied