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Local News

Judge to review detective's emails in Joliet flare gun murder case

Eric Raya
Eric Raya

A Will County judge will review emails exchanged by prosecutors and a detective in regard to a case where four men have been charged with causing a fire that killed an infant and two women.

On Tuesday, Joliet police detective Jeff German handed Judge Dan Kennedy a copy of his email communications with the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office.

German’s emails were subpoenaed by attorney Jeff Tomczak, who is seeking to have the murder case against his client Eric Raya, 20, dismissed. Tomczak claims prosecutors allegedly violated his client’s due process rights.

Tomczak accused prosecutors of having search warrants from German approved by a different judge without notifying him or Raya. Tomczak initially sought to suppress records from the warrants because he argued they were obtained without probable cause.

Raya, Manuel Escamilla, 20, and Andy Cerros, 19, have been charged with shooting a flare gun at a Joliet residence and causing a blaze in June 2017 that killed Regina Rogers, 28, her 11-month-old daughter, Royalty Rogers, and Jacquetta Rogers, 29.

Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Marie Czech filed a motion to quash Tomczak’s subpoenas after he submitted them. Czech argued Tomczak was engaging in a “fishing expedition” and his request for emails is premised “on the hope that he just might bump into something useful.”

Czech also said disclosure of the emails would jeopardize an ongoing criminal investigation.

“In the case at hand, the police are still gathering evidence,” she said.

Tomczak insisted to Kennedy on Tuesday that German’s emails be subpoenaed.

“This is a unique situation that requires the production of those emails,” Tomczak said.

Kennedy denied Czech’s motion to quash the subpoenas while he reviewed the emails delivered by German.

Czech argued German went to a different judge to avoid the appearance of trying to influence Kennedy with “information that was not already of record.”

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