Ex-con pleads innocent in slaying of Indian Head Park girl

Special to the Tribune

An ex-convict pleaded not guilty today to the October stabbing death of a 14-year-old Indian Head Park girl, during a hearing that featured two judges and some legal sparring but didn’t yield new details of the crime.

John Wilson Jr., 38, appeared in Cook County court in Bridgeview to enter his plea in the murder of Kelli O’Laughlin. The Lyons Township High School freshman was attacked in her home Oct. 27 after interrupting a burglary, authorities say.

Wilson, a Chicago resident, entered the home by tossing a rock wrapped in a cap through a window, authorities said. He is accused of killing the teen when she arrived home from school.

Wilson stole her cellphone and used it to send taunting messages to the victim’s mother in the hours after the crime, investigators say.

Judge Colleen Hyland entered the not guilty plea for Wilson. Hyland was substituting for Judge Joan Margaret O’Brien, who was assigned the case but was thought to be on vacation.
Hyland vacated the bench when she learned O’Brien was in the building and after Wilson attorney John Paul Carroll objected to some of the proceedings.

O’Brien rejected Carroll’s request to have Wilson transferred to the Cook County jail from the Pontiac Correction Institute, where is being held.

Carroll said the need to drive to Pontiac made it difficult for him to prepare a defense.

Assistant State’s Atty. Guy Lisuzzo objected, and the judge said she didn’t think the suspect should be housed in Cook County at this stage of the legal proceedings.

Carroll later said he would file a motion seeking a new judge.
The case is due back in court Jan. 3.

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