JOLIET, IL —Will County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy of Investigations Dan Jungles wants you to believe that Woody’s bartender Katie Kearns was lured to the Joliet Outlaws clubhouse, where she was shot in the head by Jeremy Boshears during a premeditated murder.
Joliet criminal defense attorney Chuck Bretz insists that Boshears did not kill Kearns.
Bretz wants you to believe that Kearns battled severe depression. The 24-year-old Mokena resident was getting mental health treatment in Downers Grove and in Riverside around the time of her death on the night of Nov. 12, 2017.
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Kearns — not Boshears —put the loaded gun up to her head inside the Joliet Outlaw clubhouse, taking her own life, according to Bretz.
Boshears is charged with first-degree murder and concealing a homicide. Boshears was a regular patron at Woody’s Bar and a member of the Joliet Outlaws.
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“I think that assumptions were made by the Sheriff’s Department that were simply untrue, and they jumped to conclusions that were not based on fact,” Bretz told Joliet Patch last week.
Next week marks the most high-profile murder trial at the new Will County Courthouse since the $215 million building in downtown Joliet opened in November 2020.
The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office of Jim Glasgow has never backed down from its position that Boshears committed first-degree murder. On the other side, Bretz has put forth an aggressive defense, insisting that his client is innocent.
Kearns did not die in a homicide; she died from a self-inflicted gunshot, Bretz said.
Jury selection begins Tuesday morning in the courtroom of Will County Judge David Carlson. The murder trial is expected to last two weeks, Bretz said.
Patch asked him if Boshears will take the witness stand to testify in his own defense.
“That decision has not been made,” Bretz replied. “That decision will be made at some point during the course of the trial.”
Boshears was 32 years old when the Will County Sheriff’s Office arrested him. At the time, Boshears, his wife and their children lived in a small ranch house on Third Street in Coal City.
After dying inside the Joliet Outlaws clubhouse in the Ingalls Park area, Kearns’ body was wrapped into a tarp and put into the back of her Jeep Wrangler. Her Jeep was driven about an hour south of Joliet. The Jeep was left inside a pole barn on a farm in Kankakee County, near St. Andrews. Anne.
“They do not have the weapon that was used in her death,” Bretz remarked during last week’s interview with Joliet Patch’s editor.
Bretz’s intention is to get an unanimous verdict, with all 12 jurors convinced that Boshears is not guilty of first-degree murder and not guilty of concealment of a homicide.
The trial is all about “whether or not the State can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Boshears was the individual that pulled the trigger,” Bretz said. “I absolutely believe that that actually did not happen, of course.
“Our goal, and I believe the correct result, will be an acquittal as to all the charges,” Bretz said.
If his client is found not-guilty of murder, then there is no way the jury can find him guilty of concealing a homicide, Bretz said.
Court documents filed by the defense attorney for Boshears indicate Kearns’ blood alcohol concentration was 0.212 and her drug screen tested positive for cocaine, cocaine metabolites, Alprazolam (which is Xanax), Oxcarbazepine and Citalopram.
“If it’s not a homicide, then there’s no homicidal death to conceal,” Bretz explained.
In a story published Nov. 17, 2017, — one day before the Boshears arrest — Jungles told Joliet Patch he was confident Will County Sheriff’s detectives had the right person in custody.
“Our detectives did just a fabulous job of following up on leads,” Jungles remarked. “My hats off to them because they did a good job of building this case.”
Jungles also said that several sheriff’s investigators have worked “31 to 34 hours straight with an hour nap or two. We owe it to the people of Will County whenever there is a major case to work it that way. There is only a short window in most cases to build your best case.”
Joliet Patch has produced dozens of articles since the Kearns family reported her missing to the Joliet Police Department in November 2017.
Here’s a look back at several of them:
Nov. 14, 2017: Joliet Bartender Katie Kearns Is Missing, Friends Say
Friends say the 24-year-old Mokena resident worked at Woody’s Bar at 1008 East Washington St. in Joliet until about midnight on Sunday, but nobody has seen or heard from her since. She never made it home, her Jeep has not been located, and she has no recent presence on social media.
Nov. 16, 2017: Outlaws Club At Center Of Katie Kearns Murder Probe: Police
The Will County Sheriff’s Department confirmed there is an apparent connection between the young woman’s disappearance and the Joliet Outlaws Motorcycle clubhouse. “We are confirming that she had told four different people that she was heading to the Outlaws Clubhouse after her shift,” Will County Sheriff’s department spokeswoman Kathy Hoffmeyer told Patch.
Nov. 17, 2017: Joliet Outlaw Jeremy Boshears Charged In Bartender’s Death
At the corner of 3rd and Shabbona Streets in Coal City, Boshears proudly flies the Confederate Flag. That flag sports the message “Come and Take.” Above his Confederate flag, Boshears flies a black flag with a serpent that proclaims “DON’T TREAD ON ME.” The Will County Sheriff’s Department suspects that Boshears murdered his new girlfriend, Katie Kearns. She died of a single bullet wound to her head.
April 5, 2018: Joliet Outlaws Murder Case Involves 2nd Man: Lawyer
Chuck Bretz & Associates has asked the court to determine whether Will County authorities cut a deal with a man named Colburn “Colby” Oneal, recently filed court documents show. “Colby made statements to the police regarding his activity on the night the victim likely died,” criminal defense attorney Neil Patel informed the court. “These statements would tend to incriminate the defendant circumstantially, but are not direct evidence of guilt, such as an eyewitness account or the defendant’s admissions.”
April 5, 2018: Katie Kearns May Have Killed Herself: Bretz Law Firm
“The discovery in this case indicates that within hours of being arrested, the defendant is recorded telling his wife that the victim killed herself,” attorney Neil Patel informed the judge.
Moreover, “the victim’s father told law enforcement that the victim had a history of depression and anxiety. He believed she was prescribed Xanax and (Adderall). She had a history of drinking alcohol and may have used (Vicodin) and cannabis. out with people who used heroin or cocaine…”
April 22, 2019: Joliet Outlaws Slaying: Bretz Law On Offense For Jeremy Boshears
“The State’s case is entirely circumstantial based in large part upon the premise that the defendant concealed the death and that a witness saw the two of them together before her death,” the defense team said in last week’s filing.
May 5, 2019: 2 Experts May Prove Katie Kearns Shot Herself: Bretz Says
“It is our belief that the decedent regrettably took her own life,” Joliet criminal defense attorney Chuck Bretz told Joliet Patch during an interview at his law firm, Chuck Bretz & Associates.
June 11, 2021: Katie Kearns Shot Herself At Joliet Outlaws Clubhouse: Expert
According to court filings by Bretz, Flynn & Associates, the toxicology screen showed that Kearns was intoxicated and struggling with mental health issues and clearly in crisis at the hospital just three weeks earlier, getting suicidal prevention education.
Sept. 22, 2021: Katie Kearns’ Body Found With Help From Facebook: Prosecutors
Will County Sheriff’s deputies located the body of deceased account user Kaitlyn Kearns wrapped in a tarp and mattress in the rear of the vehicle, court documents show. Deputies noted and the Kankakee County Coroner confirmed that Kaitlyn Kearns suffered a fatal gunshot to the head. Kearns’ phone was located in the rear of the same vehicle.
Oct. 11, 2021: Katie Kearns’ Death: Prosecutors Lose Another Pretrial Ruling
In another setback for State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow and his prosecutors, a Will County judge has ruled for a second time that an expert witness for the murder of defendant Jeremy Boshears can tell a jury that Katie Kearns did not die as the result of a homicide.
Jan. 20, 2022: Joliet Outlaws Culture Will Be Focus Of Jeremy Bushears Trial
This week, Bretz revealed plans to introduce defense expert witness trial testimony from Ed Jauch, a retired law enforcement agent and expert in the motorcycle club subculture. “Mr Jauch has expertise as anized undercover club agent, deput by the FBI and US Marshal, and is an expert in the motorcycle subculture and other similar organizations and in particular as to the Joliet Outlaws Motorcycle Club culture…”
Jan. 25, 2022: Jeremy Boshears’ Murder Trial Delayed Until April
On Tuesday, Boshears learned that his Will County jury trial in the death of 24-year-old Joliet bartender Katie Kearns is being delayed until April 11. Boshears’ trial was set to get underway Jan. 31. Now 36 years old, Boshears was a member of the Joliet Outlaws Motorcycle Club at the time of Kearns’ death.