Charges formally dropped against Lynwood cop
October 12, 2010 2:32PM
10-13-10 Brian Dorian arrives at the Will County Courthouse in a steady rain and a crush of reporters for a hearing where murder charges were dropped. At right is his attorney Bob O'Derek.......Rich Hein/Sun-Times
Updated: October 13, 2010 4:00PM
A murder charge that could have sent Lynwood police officer Brian Dorian to prison for up to 60 years was dismissed Wednesday during a court hearing that lasted less than a minute.
Dorian, 37, didn’t speak during the hearing as Judge Richard Schoenstedt cleared Dorian of any involvement in a bizarre two-state shooting spree last week.
Dorian, who was wearing a tan shirt, checked tie and black pants, was hustled out a rear door and then whisked from the courthouse to his attorneys’ office about a block away. He left that office about 10:35 a.m. without commenting, jumping into a car with several relatives.
But after Will County prosecutors dropped the first-degree murder charge against Dorian, she ripped authorities for arresting her son.
“They should find the real killer,’’ Diane Dorian said as she exited the courthouse surrounded by Dorian supporters and a throng of news reporters. The scene was so tense that the father of one of Brian Dorian’s friends — Dennis Moran, 68, of Crown Point Ind. — was charged with battery after he allegedly slugged an NBC5 News cameraman.
Dorian’s attorneys also criticized his arrest last Friday, saying authorities hadn’t fully checked his alibi.
“To go ahead and charge him was outrageous,’’ lawyer Bob O’Dekirk said.
Dorian had told authorities he used his computer on the morning of Oct. 5 when 45-year-old Rolando Alonso was gunned down near rural Beecher.
He also had gone shopping, visited a friend and went to his mother’s house, O’Dekirk said.
Will County authorities made the stunning announcement Tuesday night that they planned to drop the charge, saying that detailed forensic analysis of Dorian’s home computer showed he was online when Alonso was shot to death.
Dorian was released from jail Tuesday night and is “relieved’’ the charge against him was dropped, O’Dekirk said, adding that Dorian has “expressed concern that the killer was still out there.’’
But Dorian remains devastated by his arrest and the murder charge that was filed against him.
“This crushes him, absolutely crushes him,’’ said attorney David Carlson. “He will never be the same because of this.’’
Dorian’s mother returned to his unincorporated Crete Township home shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday. She said Dorian was “resting’’ but declined to comment further.
“Brian is beyond exhausted,’’ she said.
A spokesman for Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow defended the initial decision to charge Dorian with Alonso’s murder.
“All the evidence at the time of this arrest pointed toward this individual,’’ spokesman Charles Pelkie said.
Glasgow — who wasn’t in court Wednesday — and Will County Sheriff Paul Kaupas earlier had said that a co-worker of Alonso initially fingered Dorian in a photo lineup and in a personal lineup as the gunman.
Another co-worker, Joshua Garza, 19, was critically wounded in that attack while a third fled the scene and was not injured. Keith Dahl, 63, was wounded less than an hour later on his farm 15 miles away near Lowell, Ind. in an attack authorities said was committed by the same person.
But Carlson called the decision to charge Dorian “a knee-jerk reaction’’ that was apparently based solely on the initial photo identification by the teenage coworker.
Police then focused only on finding the evidence to tie Dorian to the shootings, Carlson said.
“Instead of looking for the guy who murdered this man, they were trying to put this case together,’’ Carlson said. “It was the tail wagging the dog.’’
And he bristled at Glasgow’s contention Tuesday that the evidence initially pointed so strongly towards Dorian that even the Lynwood cop would have sought charges in the case.
“I am 100 percent sure Brian Dorian would not have asked for charges,’’ Carlson said.
On Tuesday, after Dorian was able to tell investigators what websites he had visited around the time of the Beecher shootings, authorities determined he wasn’t the gunman and agreed to drop the murder charge.
“He provided sufficient, specific and detailed information that enabled us to dismiss the case,’’ Pelkie said.
Dorian’s attorneys would not say if they are planning to sue Will County for wrongfully charging their client with murder.
Carlson compared the arrest of Dorian to the saga of Kevin Fox — who was wrongfully imprisoned for eight months in the murder of his daughter, Riley, 3, in 2004. Fox said he was coerced into confessing to the crime — DNA evidence cleared him — and won an $8 million judgment from Will County in that case.
“The biggest difference between Fox and this case is there’s no confession in this case. Brian was nothing but cooperative. I think that’s the hardest pill to swallow.’’
Sheriff Kaupas conceded that his detectives were not convinced Dorian was their man when he was charged with murder.
“We were on the fence on this case,” Kaupas said. “We were letting the evidence take us where we needed to go.”
Contributing: Herald-News, Kim Janssen