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Local News

Attorneys in biker clubhouse homicide say victim may have killed herself

Attorneys waiting on forensic experts’ opinion on victim’s death

The case of a former member of a Joliet motorcycle club who has been charged with killing his girlfriend has lingered for more than a year and a half as his attorneys try to gather evidence that they argue may show the woman died by suicide.

Jeremy Boshears, 34, has been in the Will County jail since Nov. 18, 2017, and faces charges of first-degree murder and concealment of a homicide in connection with the death of 24-year-old bartender Katie Kearns. Boshears has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Kearns was reported missing
Nov. 14, 2017. She was last seen at Woody’s Bar in Joliet Township, where she worked.

Kearns’ body was later found by Will County Sheriff’s Office detectives in the back of her 1996 Grand Cherokee, which was parked inside a pole barn in Aroma Park Township in Kankakee County, according to the Will County Sheriff’s Office.

She was killed by a single gunshot wound to her head.

Boshears, a former member of the Joliet Outlaws Motorcycle Club, was charged with killing her at the Outlaws’ clubhouse, which is down the street from Woody’s Bar.

However, one of his attorneys, Charles Bretz, said that Kearns may have taken her own life.

On May 3, a Will County judge granted a motion from Bretz’s associate Neil Patel to have experts with Larsen Forensics and Associates reconstruct the crime scene and review evidence to determine whether her gunshot wound was self-inflicted.

Bretz said he was waiting on those experts to deliver reports.

He said he expects the case will go to trial.

“I expect it to go trial at some point. At this point, I don’t have a realistic handle on when,” Bretz said.

Will County Deputy Chief Dan Jungles has rejected the idea that Kearns died by suicide, saying the sheriff’s office’s investigation was “able to prove she was murdered and there was no suicide here.”

Jungles questioned how her death could be a suicide if her body had been disposed of in another county and why the crime scene was covered up.

When asked about Boshears’ attorneys’ argument that Kearns’ death may be a suicide, Will County State’s Attorney spokeswoman Carole Cheney referred to the indictment against him.

“Any response to a particular theory will be made at the appropriate time in court,” Cheney said.

Attempts to reach Kearns’ family were unsuccessful.

In Patel’s motion for the appointment of forensics experts, he argues that records obtained from Silver Cross Hospital and a mental health treatment provider may suggest her death could have been a suicide.

Patel’s motion argued the records show she went to an emergency room for a laceration on her wrist, that she struggled with high levels of anxiety and depression, that she had a history of self-harm and that she engaged in reckless behavior.

His motion further argued that there were no eyewitnesses that implicated Boshears as the shooter, no forensics indicating he was the shooter and that Boshears was recorded telling his wife after being arrested that Kearns died by suicide.

His motion said a “good faith argument” exists that Kearns took her own life “either accidentally or purposefully.”

A supporter of the Joliet Outlaws who asked not to be identified said he didn’t believe Boshears would kill someone at the clubhouse.

“How stupid do you have to be to kill someone in the clubhouse? That’s something you don’t do because that brings heat down on the club,” he said.

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