Judge Questions Using Public Defender In Facebook Live Torture Case

CHICAGO (CBS) — The judge in the case of four people charged with attacking and kidnapping a Crystal Lake teen with special needs told their public defender on Wednesday to consider whether it would be a conflict to represent all four.

WBBM’s Mike Krauser reports.

The Cook County public defender’s office is representing Tesfaye Cooper, 18, Jordan Hill, 18, Tanishia Covington, 24, and her sister Brittany Covington, 19. Officials arrested the group in January after they allegedly attacked the 18-year-old victim.  The four were charged with a hate crime, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and unlawful restraint. They pleaded not guilty and are being held without bail.

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Each defendant told Judge William Hooks that they did not have enough money for private lawyers. Hooks suggested there could be a conflict down the road if they all used the same public attorney, since the four adults may not have participated equally in the alleged torture.

Public Defender Amy Campanelli said her office will file a motion to withdraw if any conflicts exist among her defendants.

Prosecutors allege the defendants bound and gagged the victim in the video, which was streamed live on Facebook. They say the attacks happened between Dec. 31 and Jan. 2, and include the four allegedly slapping, punching, taunting and threatening to kill the victim. Prosecutors also claim the defendants cut the young man’s scalp, forced him to say racial epithets and made him drink toilet water.

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