One month ago two friends were beginning their senior year at Stagg High School. Another had just graduated and was taking community college classes. The fourth was going to Oak Lawn Community High School.
Now, all four are being held in the psychiatric wing of Cermak Hospital at the Cook County Jail accused by prosecutors of carrying out the brutal murder of a Palos Township couple.
Christopher Wyma, 17, of Bridgeview, Mohammad Salahat, 17, of Chicago Ridge, and Ehab Qasem, 19, of Hickory Hills are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors say they joined John Granat, 17, in .
Granat was charged with the murders on Sept. 13 and was denied bail at that time. He has spent the past month in protective custody at Cermak Hospital, according to the Cook County Sheriff's Office.
The other three teens were denied bail on Tuesday and were transported to the same wing at Cermak. All four requested protective custody and will be housed individually.
The sheriff's office says the length of their stay at Cermak will be determined solely by hospital staff. Once they are deemed fit to be integrated into the general population, they will be housed in the jail's maximum security division.
All four will continue to remain in protective custody based on their requests.
Granat was the only son of John and Maria Granat, of the 12700 block of 81st Court in an unincorporated area of Palos Township. The Polish immigrants operated a construction business and lived in a large home built by the elder John Granat.
The couple's business frequently dealt in cash, according to a former employee of their bank. The large amount of cash in the home was a motivating factor in their murders, prosecutors said.
Granat goes by the name of Johnny Hash on Facebook.
Wyma is a senior at Stagg High School and the son of a Palos Hills police officer. He has an older brother and a younger sister, according to his attorney John Russell.
Qasem, graduated early from Stagg High School in 2010. He was a member of the swim team for one year. He is currently studying secondary education at Moraine Valley Community College, according to his lawyer. He lives with his father.
Salahat is a student at Oak Lawn Community High School. as news of the charges began to spread.
“Our students were finding out before the school was,” the school's superintendent Mike Riordan said. “It became a topic of conversation. Because we live in an electronic age, kids were getting the news faster than adults when some of the kids were reporting it to their teachers.”
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said after the court appearance that Granat had a troubled relationship with his parents and used the large amount of cash in the home as a means to recruit help in their killing.
All four teens are scheduled to appear back in court on Oct. 31.