Attorney ramps up efforts for new trial in Joliet Outlaws murder case

Jeremy Boshears, 36, walks back to his attorney after cross examination. Boshears is charged with the murder of Kaitlyn “Katie” Kearns, 24, on Nov. 13, 2017. Wednesday, April 27, 2022, in Joliet.

A defense attorney has escalated his request for a new trial in the Joliet Outlaws’ murder case by claiming prosecutors committed misconduct and a judge failed to avoid numerous errors during last year’s trial.

It’s been about a year and three months since a jury found Jeremy Boshears, 38, of Coal City, guilty of the Nov. 13, 2017, murder of Katie Kearns, 24. He was also found guilty of concealing her death by taking her body from the Joliet Outlaws’ clubhouse to a barn in Kankakee County.

Boshears has not yet been sentenced because his attorney, Chuck Bretz, is still seeking to have Judge Dave Carlson either set aside the jury’s guilty verdict or grant him a new trial.

A court hearing on that issue may take place on Sept. 13.

On Tuesday, Bretz filed a 31-page motion amending his request to either have the jury’s verdict set aside or have a new trial. Prosecutors have not yet responded.

Defense attorney Chuck Bretz talks to the prosecuting team during the Jeremy Boshears trial. Boshears is charged with the murder of Kaitlyn “Katie” Kearns, 24, on Nov. 13, 2017. Monday, April 25, 2022, in Joliet.

In Bretz’s latest motion, he argued there were “repeated and consistent episodes of prosecutorial misconduct” throughout the trial. He claimed several witnesses lied on the stand.

Bretz also took issue with how Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Steve Platek demonstrated to his defense expert Arthur Borchers how Boshears could have shot Kearns in tight quarters.

“It was completely improper and highly prejudicial for [Platek] to insert himself into the trial as a ‘quasi-witness’ by conducting a demonstration involving the prop weapon during his cross examination of [Borchers],” Bretz said.

Bretz argued prosecutors also asked improper, misleading and prejudicial questions of Boshears when he was cross-examined about his claim that Kearns shot herself, which included labeling the Outlaws a criminal organization in front of the jury.

“The state’s cross-examination of [Boshears] was conducted in the manner of a highly prejudicial smear campaign against the defendant as opposed to legitimate inquiry designed to elicit the truth,” Bretz said.

Prosecuting attorney Steven Platek makes final statements to the jury in the Jeremy Boshears murder trial. Boshears is charged with the murder of Kaitlyn “Katie” Kearns, 24, on Nov. 13, 2017. Friday, April 29, 2022, in Joliet.

Bretz claimed prosecutors lied to the jury during closing arguments by misstating the evidence and distorting witnesses’ testimonies. He highlighted Platek’s reference to the “mafia” and John Gotti, the late Gambino crime family boss, in what Bretz said was an attempt to taint the jury against Boshears.

Bretz said prosecutors wanted to “win at all costs” and set out to “invite the jury to speculate and to attack” Boshears’ character.

Bretz also faulted Carlson for committing what he claimed were numerous errors at trial. He argued Carlson erred by denying his multiple motions for a mistrial.

Bretz said Carlson erred by allowing what he labeled irrelevant testimony from Kearns’ family and friends, which were “designed to create an emotional attachment” and to deprive Boshears of his right to a fair trial.

One of those witness was Kearns’ father, Kevin Kearns, who was allowed to testify to “irrelevant and prejudicial matters” such as calling his daughter a good person who was expecting to be a godmother, Bretz said.

“The prejudicial impact of this testimony was compounded by the fact that Mr. Kearns then began crying on the stand,” he said.