A Cook County Juvenile Court judge is expected to rule this week on whether a 17-year-old defendant, accused of attempting to hijack an off-duty police officer’s car in Homewood this month, remains in custody or is released so that he can attend high school.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Donna Cooper, of the Juvenile Division, Monday heard arguments from an assistant state’s attorney and the teen’s court-appointed public defender on whether he should remain in custody. At the end of the status hearing the suspect, a Chicago Heights resident, was taken back into custody. He is being held at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center.
The case, which is being heard at the Markham courthouse, was continued until Thursday when the defendant’s mother is to let the court know if he has been accepted as a student at a local high school.
The juvenile is charged with attempted armed robbery and attempted vehicular hijacking. He was arrested following the Sept. 10 incident on the 18600 block of Klimme Avenue in Homewood, which occurred at about 11 p.m. Homewood police said he and another suspect are accused of attempting to take the victim’s vehicle at gunpoint. The off-duty officer fired a round from his handgun and chased the suspects after they ran away. The other suspect has not been arrested.
Assistant State’s Attorney Clyde Guilamo said Monday that the teen has been implicated in three previous incidents, two of them armed robbery, involving handguns. All took place in 2014. He was also accused of a residential burglary, Guilamo said. He said that the defendant remains a threat to the community and should not be released from the juvenile detention center.
“I am concerned for the community,” Guilamo said. He said the defendant, since being arrested this month, “has received no services that would make him any less of a threat to the community.”
Assistant Public Defender Ashley McKeigue said the juvenile was not prosecuted for any of the previous incidents cited by Guilamo. She said he has no previous convictions and asked the judge to release him to the custody of his grandmother so that he can begin high school classes. The defendant’s grandmother, mother and stepfather appeared in court Monday.
Both Guilamo and McKeigue agreed that the juvenile is not accused of pointing a gun at the victim during the carjacking event. Police reports indicate that the other suspect, who may be an adult, held the gun and attempted to open the victim’s car door, McKeigue said.
Guilamo also told Judge Cooper that the case is still under investigation by law enforcement agencies, including the Illinois State Police. He said the defendant has made a statement to police but that his office still wants to review photographic evidence and talk to the Flossmoor Police Department, which assisted in the defendant’s arrest.
Other area law enforcement agencies assisted the Homewood Police Department in looking for the two suspects after the carjacking attempt. The 17-year-old was arrested at Millennium Park, Homewood police said.
Juvenile court proceedings are closed to the public. Crime victims and family members of defendants are allowed in juvenile court. With permission from the court, the news media is also allowed to attend but must follow guidelines, including an agreement to not name defendants who are minors.