Lawyer for Teen Accused of Killing His Parents Drops Out
Unable to pay private attorneys, two of the four young men charged with the 2011 murder of John and Maria Granat have opted for the free services of the Cook County Public Defender's Office.
Richard Beuke became the second private attorney on Wednesday to withdraw from the Granat murder case, citing the financial toll his services imposed on his young client.
“He can’t afford it,” Beuke said of John Granat, 18, who has been accused of enlisting three friends to kill and rob his parents. The attorney cut off an interview at the Bridgeview courthouse Wednesday by adding, “That’s the sole reason.”
In court, Beuke told Judge Neil Linehan that he made the decision to leave after several discussions with surviving members of the Granat family, some of whom have been present at every hearing. Granat’s aunt politely declined to comment.
John Russell, another private attorney, left the case in April, nine months after authorities first named his client, Christopher Wyma, and two other young men, Mohammad Salahat and Ehab Qasem, as co-conspirators and participants in the murder and robbery of Granat's parents inside their Palos Township home.
At the time, Wyma’s mother said she could no longer afford to pay Russell. He was replaced by assistant public defender Dan Nolan.
The Cook County Public Defender’s Office was also appointed to represent Granat, though an attorney was not immediately assigned.
A veteran criminal defense attorney, Beuke defended former Chicago police detective Jon Burge and is currently representing Allan Kustok, an Orland Park man accused of killing his wife.
As of April, prosecutors on the Granat case had given defense teams more than 850 pages of reports and records, in addition to a dozen discs containing digital media. Subpoenas have since been filed for records of each man’s cell phone—or in Qasem’s case, cell phones.
Additional details have surfaced by way of the indictment, which shows that prosecutors are seeking prison sentences longer than the statutes allow because “the murder was committed in cold, calculated and premeditated manner…”
Each man was indicted late last year on 75 counts related to first-degree murder, home invasion and armed robbery because each man was aware of “a preconceived plan, scheme or design to take human life by unlawful means, and the conduct of the defendants created a reasonable expectation that the death of a human being would result there from…”
Salahat’s attorney, Joel Brodsky, has suggested that the 16-year-old high school junior had only been along for the ride. In March, Judge Linehan agreed to let Dr. Alan Jaffe and an assistant conduct three one-hour interviews and administer five eight-hour personality and intelligence tests. They will explore not whether Salahat is sane enough for trial, according to Brodsky, but the more subtle issue of whether he understood what was happening when he acted as driver.
Granat is due back in court on July 19 with new counsel, his co-defendants and a cadre of jailers who guard the skinny, handcuffed adolescents.
- Accused of Double-Murder, Teens Plead Not Guilty
- Lawyer: Alleged Driver Was Almost The Third Victim in the Granat Killings
- Teens Charged in Palos Township Beating Deaths Ordered to Submit DNA
- Prosecutors: Son and Three Friends Plotted to Murder Palos Township Couple For Money, Bail Denied
- Hundreds Mourn Loss of John and Maria Granat