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Ashford House Defendant Requests Jury Trial

The attorney for John Tucker, one of five Indiana men accused in a Tinley Park attack on a suspected white supremacist group, says the state has a 'political agenda' to delay his client's case.

One of five Indiana men charged with mob action, armed violence, aggravated battery and criminal damage to property after an alleged attack at a Tinley Park restaurant wants to move forward with a jury trial.

John Tucker, 26; Cody Sutherlin, 23; Dylan Sutherlin, 20; Alex Stuck, 22; and Jason Sutherlin, 33; were arrested in May.

READ: Ashford House 5 Lawyers Call Arrest 'Invalid'

Police say the five men, three of whom are brothers, stormed the Ashford House in Tinley Park on May 19, their faces covered, . Authorities have said those targeted were affiliated with white supremacist movements and defendants are said to be members of the

All five men appeared with their attorney Thursday, Sept. 27, at a hearing in a Bridgeview courtroom before Judge Carmen Aguilar, wearing khaki-colored Department of Corrections garb and occasionally whispering to one another.

Tucker's defense attorneys, Stuart Smith and Matthew Dodge, withdrew their client's pending motion to suppress evidence from a traffic stop where the defendants were arrested; attorneys had claimed the stop was illegal. Instead, Tucker's lawyers have asked to proceed with a trial.

Smith said he has asked for a jury trial "because my client is innocent of any wrongdoing," he told Patch after Thursday's hearing. "He deserves to be home."

Smith said the continued delays in the case are the result of a political agenda by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, which he says has refused several efforts to negotiate an offer to settle the case.

"This is purely political. That's all it is," Smith said. "There's no reason for it."

READ: Check Out All the Stories in Patch's Coverage of the Ashford House Attack

He clarified that he doesn't blame the two assistant state's attorneys who are prosecuting the case, claiming the prosecution is being directed by officials higher up, mentioning that Mayor Rahm Emanuel himself might have a hand in pushing the case forward.

"[The prosecutors] are getting orders to stall and keep people locked up," Smith added. Continued hearings and appearances in the case are costing the county and taxpayers $130 a day, the attorney claimed.

Remaining Defendants Proceed with Motion to Suppress

The other four defendants, however, have not dropped their motions to suppress the traffic stop and any evidence gathered from it, attorneys for the four told Judge Aguilar. Prosecutors, though, said there is still outstanding DNA evidence in the case.

Brian Barrido, attorney for Dylan Sutherlin, told Patch the motion is based on lack of probable cause to stop the vehicle. If the judge rules in the defense's favor, it would prevent any evidence collected during that stop from being used in court. Assistant state's attorneys have said black clothing, facial coverings, batons and other weapons were found in the vehicle.

READ: Tinley Park 5 Become Symbol for Groups Across the Country

Barrido said he's aware that the five defendants have a group of supporters, but he has not been in contact with any of them personally.

"The case has been getting some national attention," he said.

Arguments for the motions to suppress for the three Sutherlin brothers and Stuck will be heard on Oct. 22. Tucker will be back in court on Oct. 24 for a status hearing.

by Bridgette Outten

More Stories on the Ashford House Attack:

  • 'Ashford House 5' Plead Not Guilty to 185 Charges
  • POLL: Should Lawyers Take Anti-Racists' Cases Pro Bono?
  • Private Attorneys for 'Tinley Park 5' Express Sympathy for Anti-Racist Cause
  • Off-Duty Sergeant Recalls Arresting 'Tinley Park 5' After Ashford House Attack

 

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