Attorney for man charged in Plainfield Township boy’s murder wants recordings of his jail conversations

Joseph Czuba’s wife filed for divroce

Joseph Czuba enters the courtroom for a hearing at the Will County Courthouse on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023 in Joliet. Joseph Czuba, 71, was arraigned on charges of first-degree murder of 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume and attempting to kill the boy's mother, Hanaan Shahin, 32, on Oct. 14 at a Plainfield Township residence.

The defense for Joseph Czuba is seeking all recordings – including from someone who is claiming they are a jail inmate – that may be used against him in the case where he’s accused of stabbing a child to death and attempting to kill his mother in Plainfield Township.

Czuba has been charged with the first-degree murder of 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume at a residence in Plainfield Township.

Czuba also has been charged with the aggravated battery and attempted first-degree murder of the child’s mother, Hanaan Shahin, 32. Czuba further faces hate crime charges that accuse him of attacking the mother and her child based on their Islamic faith.

George Lenard, one of the defense attorneys for Czuba, who turns 72 on Wednesday, filed a motion on Monday to request access to all recordings that could be used as evidence. Will County Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak will consider that motion at a Nov. 16 court hearing.

Lenard’s motion also seeks access to any recordings between Czuba, his attorneys and investigators with the Will County Public Defender’s Office. Lenard is a part-time assistant attorney with the office.

Also on Monday, it was revealed Czuba’s 63-year-old wife filed for divorce. The petition said the two were married on April 30, 1994 in Los Angeles County, California. The couple never had children, according to the petition.

The defense motion filed on Monday by Lenard and noted that his client is under a hate crimes investigation by federal authorities. Lenard’s motion suggested Czuba may be communicating with someone in the jail who may not actually be an inmate.

“While being housed in the Will County Adult Detention Facility, Joseph Czuba has been having conservations with visitors, other inmates, correctional officers and another individual who may or may not be an inmate, but an individual purporting to be [an] inmate,” Lenard’s motion said.

Lenard’s motion said the latter person is “being housed next to Joseph Czuba in the medical unit” of the jail.

The defense motion said it is “known to be a fact” that all conversations between Czuba and visitors are being recorded, along with Czuba’s conversations with anyone at the jail.

“These recorded statements, if available, are material and relevant to the preparation of Joseph Czuba’s defense, and preservation and production of this evidence is a key component included in his due process and other constitutional rights,” Lenard’s motion said.