Four young adults accused of torturing a mentally disabled man in a Facebook Live video stream have been receiving death threats, according to their attorney – who argues that the threats are indicative of a potentially contaminated jury pool.
Jordan Hill, Tesfaye Cooper, Brittany Covington, and Tanishia Covington are facing numerous charges related to the alleged torture and beating of a schizophrenic man — which broadcast on Facebook Live on New Year’s Eve.
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) January 27, 2017
The suspects are accused of kidnapping an 18-year-old man, tying him and gagging him, and cutting his scalp with a knife. They allegedly forced him to drink toilet water and denounce then-President-elect Donald Trump on camera.
The suspects’ defense attorney accused the media of sensationalizing the case, and argued that the media saturation could compromise his clients’ ability to get a fair jury trial. According to Fox 43, public defender Neil Toppel detailed some of the online threats to media after a Friday hearing.
“There was a posting that invited a good Samaritan to publicly execute these defendants,” Toppel reportedly said. “And (they) also said anybody that supports them should be executed as well.”
A judge has banned cameras from the courtroom, and ordered a courtroom sketch artists not to draw the suspects’ or their attorneys’ faces.
An arraignment is set for Feburary 10.