Prosecutors say Joliet Outlaws murder case warrants a second trial

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.

Prosecutors contend that a Coal City man still can undergo a second trial for the 2017 first-degree murder of a woman who was killed in a shooting at the clubhouse for the Joliet Outlaws Motorcycle Club.

Attorney Chuck Bretz is seeking to have the case against his client, Jeremy Boshears, 38, dismissed on double jeopardy grounds. The double jeopardy clause in the U.S. Constitution prohibits a person from being prosecuted twice for the same crime.

In a motion filed Wednesday, Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Mark Shlifka argued that double jeopardy only would apply if a defendant’s conviction was reversed because the evidence was insufficient to sustain a jury’s verdict. Shlifka said it would not apply in a case where a defendant’s conviction is overturned based on trial errors.

On Jan. 24, Will County Judge Dave Carlson granted a new trial for Boshears based on what he determined was the “cumulative effect” of the errors committed by prosecutors during the 2022 trial. Carlson did not find that prosecutors committed misconduct.

Carlson may rule on Bretz’s motion to dismiss the case on double jeopardy grounds at a court hearing scheduled for April 23. The judge also could rule on Bretz’s motion to grant Boshears’ pretrial release from jail.

“I would like to handle all the motions before I go,” Carlson said at a court hearing Wednesday.

Carlson is stepping down from the bench April 30.

Will County investigators search the Outlaws Motorcycle Club's clubhouse Thursday after Kaitlyn Kearns, a 24-year-old bartender from Joliet, was found dead from a gunshot in a rural area of Kankakee County, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

In 2022, a jury found Boshears guilty of the first-degree murder of Kaitlyn “Katie” Kearns, 24, a case in which she was shot in the head Nov. 13, 2017, at the Outlaws motorcycle clubhouse, 1915 E. Washington St., Joliet Township.

The jury further found Boshears guilty of concealing her homicidal death from authorities by stowing her body inside of a barn in Kankakee County.

Shlifka rejected arguments from Bretz that Carlson should dismiss the case because prosecutors deliberately engaged in misconduct to avoid the likelihood that the jury would acquit Boshears of the charges.

“At each stage of the trial, the state was confident in their evidence presented and their theory of the case,” Shlifka said.

That theory of prosecutors was that Boshears, who was deeply infatuated with Kearns, fatally shot her in a jealous fit of rage and covered up her death from law enforcement. Bretz’s theory was that Kearns, who had a history of depression and anxiety, shot herself during an argument with Boshears.

During the 2022 trial, Boshears testified that he saw Kearns shoot herself. He admitted to reluctantly concealing the truth of Kearns’ death from the police and her family under orders of his superiors with the Outlaws.

In another court filing, Shlifka opposed Boshears’ pretrial release under the SAFE-T Act. Boshears has been in the Will County jail since Nov. 18, 2017.

Shlifka argued in a petition that Boshears is a danger to the community because of his willingness to abide by the violent bylaws of the Outlaws.

“[Boshears’] willingness to live by these bylaws also show that [Boshears] poses a threat to every witness who testified against him at the previous trial,” Shlifka said.

Shlifka contends that Boshears is a flight risk because he covered up Kearns’ homicidal death, lied to the police and drove Kearns’ lifeless body about 50 miles away from the crime scene to prevent the police from finding it.

County investigators search the Outlaws' clubhouse Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, after Kaitlyn Kearns, a 24-year-old bartender from Joliet, was founded dead from a gunshot in a rural area of Kankakee County, according to a sheriff’s office news release Ill.