A man who once aspired to join the Outlaws motorcycle club testified about his role in the alleged coverup of Katie Kearns’ death in Joliet Township.
On Monday, jurors heard testimony of Colburn “Colby” O’Neal about what occurred on the fateful night of Nov. 12, 2017, when Kearns disappeared after finishing her shift as a bartender at Woody’s bar in Joliet Township. Prosecutors gave O’Neal immunity in exchange for his testimony.
Police found Kearns’ body in her Jeep in a barn in St. Anne, about 50 miles south of Joliet. She had been shot in the head.
Jeremy Boshears, 36, is on trial for Kearns’ alleged murder and the coverup of her death. His attorney Chuck Bretz contends she died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Under cross examination by Bretz, O’Neal admitted he “lied by omission” in police interviews and that he was concerned about getting arrested. Bretz asked O’Neal if he knew he helped covered up a death.
“Unfortunately, yes,” O’Neal said.
Jurors learned on Monday that Kearns’ body was located in a steel barn on a St. Anne property where couple Ron and Georgia Keagle reside. Ron Keagle testified that he was a member of the Outlaws for 21 years and Georgia Keagle said Boshears was “like my son.”
The couple testified they didn’t know what was in the Jeep when they helped Boshears put the vehicle in the barn.
O’Neal testified that on Nov. 12, 2017, Boshears and he went to Woody’s bar for drinks. O’Neal said he was a “probate,” or probationary, member of the Outlaws, unlike Boshears, who was “full patch” member. O’Neal said he left the Outlaws after the incident involving Kearns.
O’Neal said Boshears’ demeanor became more aggressive when he became an Outlaw, saying Boshears “wanted to prove himself.”
Jurors viewed bar video of Boshears with O’Neal and Kearns.
O’Neal said Boshears and he were forced to leave the bar because it was closing at midnight. Outdoor video showed all three in the parking lot. Boshears is seen hugging and kissing Kearns before O’Neal and he leave in separate vehicles.
O’Neal said Boshears and he went to the Outlaws’ clubhouse and Kearns arrived some time later at Boshears’ invitation in the early morning of Nov. 13, 2017. All three were at the clubhouse bar, he said.
O’Neal said at one point Boshears and he got into an argument and Boshears head-butted him but he didn’t hit back because of his friend’s status as a full-patch Outlaw. He said he apologized to Boshears, told Kearns goodbye and left.
O’Neal said he got a call from Boshears about 2:25 a.m. Boshears said he needed him to return because “something happened,” O’Neal testified.
O’Neal said he then got another call to meet Boshears at an Algonquin Street residence owned by the Keagles. O’Neal said he met Boshears there before they went back to the clubhouse.
O’Neal said he saw “something on the floor” at the clubhouse but didn’t specify what it was. He said he was instructed by Boshears to open a back door and back gate at the clubhouse.
O’Neal said another Outlaw member showed up at the scene and he saw Boshears “rolling something up” with a pool table cover. He said he saw Boshears and the other Outlaw put something in the back of Kearns’ Jeep and heard Boshears say he was “going to Kankakee.”
On Nov. 13, 2017, O’Neal said, he went to the Sunshine Food Mart to buy bleach that was used for cleaning at the clubhouse. He said he later went with Boshears to Walmart in New Lenox, where Boshears bought a smoke detector that O’Neal said was used to cover a bullet hole in a wall at the clubhouse.