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Local News

Court hearing scheduled next week in dispute over Joliet flare gun murder case

Eric Raya
Eric Raya

A court hearing will continue next week on an attorney’s motion to dismiss a murder case against a man accused of killing two women and an infant by setting their home on fire with a flare gun.

On Tuesday, Will County Judge Dan Kennedy tendered emails from Joliet detective Jeff German to attorney Jeff Tomczak, who is representing Eric Raya, 20.

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

Kennedy reviewed emails exchanged between German and prosecutors after they were subpoenaed by Tomczak, who has accused prosecutors of having search warrants from German approved by a different judge without notifying him or Raya. Tomczak has filed a motion to dismiss Raya’s case.

Tomczak said he conducted an initial review of those emails and he has requested the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office send him copies of the attachments in the emails.

A hearing on Tomczak’s motion to dismiss the case will continue May 28. The hearing began May 2 when German testified about applying for the search warrants.

German testified that he submitted applications for the new search warrants to gather additional Facebook and phone records.

Tomczak asked German if prosecutors told him to avoid Kennedy when seeking approval of the new search warrants. German said they did not.

Assistant State’s Attorney Marie Czech filed a motion to quash Tomczak’s subpoenas for the emails.

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.

Kennedy denied Czech’s motion while he reviewed the emails.

Regina Rogers and Jacquetta Rogers were the sisters of Rakeem “Rocky” Venson, according to a search warrant filed in court.

There was “ongoing conflict and animosity” between Venson, Escamilla and Cerros, the warrant said.

Venson escaped the fire by jumping out a window.

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