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Retired Trooper Pleads Not Guilty in Fatal Gas Station Shooting: Court Watch

Innocent verdict in neck-stabbing case • Not guilty plea for sexual images charges • Man accused of assaulting elderly dementia patient in court next week.

An attorney for a Park Forest man who is accused of fatally shooting another man over a rental dispute said during this week's arraignment his client pleads "not guilty to each and every charge" of first-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon.

Police say Dennis Joyner, 60, a retired state trooper was in a dispute with Robert Fortson, 40, over a rental property that Joyner owned. The dispute ended with Joyner shooting Fortson several times at the Mobil gas station in the 400 block of Lincoln Highway in Chicago Heights, according to police.  

Patch rounds up the Southland's major criminal and civil cases being heard in Cook County and Will County courts this week.

CHICAGO HEIGHTS — Homewood Man Found Innocent in Chicago Heights Attempted Murder 

A Homewood man charged with attempted murder after a fight at the Tender Trap in Chicago Heights was found innocent Thursday at the Markham Courthouse.

Matthew Carnes' legal defense has maintained he was acting in self-defense and protecting his brother, Derek Carnes. He was accused of using a knife to cut the neck of William Murphy, the nephew of former Heights Police Chief Anthony Murphy, in the March 2008 brawl.

TINLEY PARK — Judge Won't Change Shelter Owner's Sentence Without Medical Records

A Cook County judge has refused to alter an order forcing animal shelter owner Dawn Hamill, 43, to give up all but five of her personal animals. The order was part of her sentence after she was convicted in September on eight misdemeanor counts of violations of owner's duties.

Hamill's new attorney asked the judge to reconsider Hamill's sentence and he is set to argue his motion on the issue on Oct. 29.

ORLAND PARK — Man Accused of Sending Sexually Explicit Images Online Pleads Not Guilty 

An Orland Park man pleaded not guilty Monday to two felony charges stemming from sexual images that police said the man sent over the Internet, in a case not related to 14 other counts of sexual assault against the man.

Kevin Skaritka, 35, was charged in September with two counts of felony manufacturing harmful materials. He is scheduled to appear in court next on Nov. 21 for a hearing on all charges.

Drifter Accused of Sexually Assaulting Elderly Woman May Be Nearing Trial

Dennis Dodson, the drifter accused in the 2011 sexual assault of an 83-year-old woman, may be nearing a trial date.

A public defender for Dodson said the pre-trial discovery phase of the case is complete. A final status date has been set for Nov. 21. 

On the Docket for Next Week

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

Court Watch is published every Saturday on Patch's south suburban network.

Baba Wawa October 20, 2012 at 04:49 PM
"A Homewood man charged with attempted murder after a fight at the Tender Trap in Chicago Heights was found innocent " FYI, he was found "not guilty." That's the proper, legal term. And at arraignment, he entered a plea of "not guilty." They do this at that rag Southtown. Don't dumb down the news.
Rebecca Wharrie October 20, 2012 at 05:57 PM
It's innocent until proven guilty, right?
P Flan October 20, 2012 at 06:40 PM
The drifter who was accused of sexually assaulting a 83 year old woman maybe nearing a trial??? What is wrong with our judicial system? Everyone of the people responsible for taking this long to get this to trial should be fired.. Change the laws, or better yet abide by them! Fair and Speedy trials. Make the legal system serve and protect the victims, not just the accused!!
Bob Laird October 20, 2012 at 06:54 PM
bite your tongue!! do you know how much revenue the lawyers would lose if the system worked the way it was intended? jeesh! how naive.
Dennis Robaugh (Editor) October 21, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Baba WaWa is correct. In legal proceedings, the plea and the judgment can be guilty or not guilty, but a court cannot find someone "innocent" and the defendant does not enter a plea of "innocent." The burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove the guilt of a defendant. When a judgment is rendered, the court is saying the prosecution didn't prove its case, therefore "not guilty." The defense does not have to prove innocence. However, the Southtown and many newspapers often substitute the word "innocent" for "not guilty" in news coverage of criminal cases as a hedge against the word "not" being inadvertently dropped out of a headline or sentence. Back in the days when typesetting was done by hand, this sometimes happened. Many reporters have been trained to use that substitution.
Dennis Robaugh (Editor) October 21, 2012 at 02:34 AM
There are cases in Cook County that have taken five years to come to trial.
Baba Wawa October 21, 2012 at 03:17 PM
P Flan, Fire everyone responsible for a case taking too long to go to trial? Seriously? People are abiding by the laws. There's this thing called "discovery" when a case gets into the system. There's also things like interviewing witnesses, retaining experts, reading through the State's discovery. Sometimes defendants need to be examined by doctors for fitness and sanity. Speedy trials do exist in criminal cases -- but it's the DEFENDANT that has to demand a speedy trial. Not the State. Not the victim. And certainly not the public; i.e., you. And if the defendant doesn't demand a speedy trial, it's for a good reason. They're not ready for trial. Or the State isn't ready for trial. So chill.
Baba Wawa October 21, 2012 at 03:21 PM
The Browns Chicken murders in 1993 in Palatine took seven years to go to trial for one of the defendants.

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