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Local News

Attorneys claim Mokena woman’s 2017 death a suicide, not murder

Will County sheriff deputy chief rejects suicide claim

JOLIET – Attorneys for the man accused of killing a 24-year-old Mokena woman believe they can prove she took her own life, according to recent court filings.

Neil Patel, attorney for Jeremy Boshears, 32, of Coal City, stated in a March 18 court motion that a “good-faith argument” exists that Kaitlyn Kearns “took her own life by raising a gun to her head,” contrary to an indictment that charged Boshears with killing her.

Patel seeks to use an expert to see if the crime scene could be reconstructed to support this defense, as well as medical records of Kearns’ alleged history of acute mental health issues.

“The records would be highly exculpatory and support the conclusion that the victim killed herself,” Patel argued.

Boshears has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Kearns, who was reported missing Nov. 14 and later found dead from a gunshot wound in the back of her 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The vehicle was left inside of a pole barn in Aroma Park Township in Kankakee County.

Kearns allegedly was killed at the Outlaws Motorcycle Club’s clubhouse, which is down the street from Woody’s Bar, 1008 E. Washington St., Joliet, where Kearns worked as a bartender, authorities said.

Deputy Chief Dan Jungles of the Will County Sheriff’s Office rejected the idea that Kearns killed herself.

“We go by what we can prove and through our investigation we were able to prove she was murdered and there was no suicide here. That’s for certain,” Jungles said.

He questioned how Kearns’ death could be suicide if her body was disposed of in another county and why the crime scene was covered up.

“It doesn’t make sense to me why someone could come up with that theory,” he said.

Patel’s motion claims Boshears was recorded telling his wife within hours of being arrested that Kearns killed herself. His actions after her apparent suicide “may have flowed from a fear that no one would believe what really happened,” the motion stated.

On Thursday, Patel declined to comment because his motions are pending. A hearing on them is scheduled for Monday.

“We’re just exploring all options right now,” he said.

Will County State’s Attorney spokesman Charles B. Pelkie said prosecutors are moving forward with a first-degree murder case and that it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment on a case while it is pending.

Patel’s motion alleges Kearns’ father told authorities she had a “history of depression and anxiety” and that she was taking medication. She also was allegedly abusing alcohol and might have used Vicodin, an opioid pain medication.

Her toxicology report apparently showed she had alcohol and controlled substances such as Xanax, an antidepressant medication, and cocaine, in her system

Jungles said Kearns had alcohol and narcotics in her system but he didn’t have specifics of what type of narcotics. He said the information regarding her mental health history from her father was never given to the sheriff’s office.

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