Man convicted in Evanston fatal attack fires attorney

Danny Kelleher, Reporter

A Hazel Crest, Ill., man convicted of fatally striking a mentally disabled Evanston man fired his attorney Tuesday morning, delaying his sentencing at least another 30 days.

Brandon Hinton, 28, who was found guilty of first-degree murder last month, told Cook County Judge Garritt Howard he wanted a public defender to replace private lawyer Brendan Shiller.

“This will delay things, but the defendant has a constitutional right,” Howard said.

On Sept. 19, a Cook County jury found Hinton guilty of the deadly attack on John Costulas, 61. In the early morning hours of Sept. 2, 2011, Hinton hit Costulas in the head as Costulas was walking to work, took $10 from Costulas’ pockets and left him bleeding and unconscious, according to police.

Costulas died eight days later from blunt head trauma due to assault, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Throughout the trial last month, the defense argued Hinton’s actions were not premeditated, a claim the jury refuted when it found Hinton guilty of murder in the first degree.

Several members of Hinton’s family attended the scheduled sentencing, as well as some south Evanston residents who have attended Hinton’s court appearances throughout the last two years.

“I hope this is the last case that neighbors need to watch, and the very last violent crime committed in Brummel Park and Southeast Evanston/Northeast Rogers Park,” Michele Hays, chair of Brummel Park Neighbors, wrote in an email to The Daily after the jury reached the Sept. 19 verdict.

Hinton is due back in court Nov. 21, when his public defender could ask for a retrial.

“This will be a hearing where the public defender will explain her next step,” Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) posted on her ward’s message board Tuesday. “Is she prepared to move forward, what course of action will be taken. From what I understand there is the remotest of possibilities that the sentencing could take place but unlikely.”

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