Prosecutors: DNA links Indiana men to Tinley Park restaurant attack
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org November 16, 2012 12:58PM
Police investigate the scene at The Ashford House Restaurant, 7959 W. 159th Street, in Tinley Park, where a group of people entered and started assaulting patrons on May 19, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 19, 2012 1:20PM
Three of the five Indiana men accused of attacking an alleged white supremacist group at a Tinley Park restaurant in May left DNA evidence at the scene, prosecutors said Friday.
And the attorney for one of the men said prosecutors are pushing for a maximum sentence of seven years for all five men.
Alex Stuck, 22, John Tucker, 26, and brothers Jason Sutherlin, 33, Cody Sutherlin, 23, and Dylan Sutherlin, 20, all face 37 counts, including armed violence, mob action and aggravated battery, in the May 19 attack at The Ashford House restaurant, 7959 W. 159th St.
During a Friday court appearance at the Cook County courthouse in Bridgeview, assistant state’s attorney Karin Swanson said DNA evidence links Tucker, Stuck and Jason Sutherlin to the scene. Investigators found two gloves with DNA evidence linked to Tucker, a baton with Stuck’s DNA, and a baton with a small amount of DNA from Jason Sutherlin and a large amount of DNA from one of the victims, Swanson said.
Tucker’s attorney, Stuart Smith, said his client lost his gloves trying to protect Stuck, “who was jumped on twice by very large people.”
“John, as far as I know, was not aware of any weapons. In a meeting before this, he strongly advocated that no weapons be brought in,” Smith said.
The case was continued until 9 a.m. Dec. 7, in Room 110 of the Bridgeview courthouse, by Judge Carmen Aguilar.
Smith said that prosecutors want a seven-year sentence for each man was “a ridiculous offer.”
“The state has not made any offers in good faith. Two of these people have never been in any trouble before, including traffic violations. One has a traffic violation, one has a misdemeanor, and one has a prior conviction,” Smith said.
Prosecutors have said Dylan Sutherlin was convicted of driving under the influence in 2007, Cody Sutherlin was convicted of misdemeanor endangering a person in 2010, and Jason Sutherlin was convicted of a 1998 burglary.
Smith said the five are “getting a lot of sympathy” from other prisoners “because they’re the guys who actually stood up (to racism).”
He said Tucker is having a difficult time in the county jail because he suffers from hypoglycemia and has to eat at least eight times a day.
“Food in the jail doesn’t meet the best of nutritional standards, and he is suffering,” Smith said.
Police have called the five “anti-racists,” saying they wielded bats and wore masks when they allegedly targeted a group calling themselves the Illinois European Heritage Association.
Swanson previously said that with the help of about 12 other people, the men smashed dishes and overturned tables, doing about $15,000 worth of damage to the restaurant.
In court, Aguilar said she will reveal on Dec. 7 “what (sentence) I’d offer them if they are found guilty.”
James Fennerty, an attorney representing Cody Sutherlin, said, “We’d just like to get this case moving.”