Suspect in Bartlett man's murder wants hearsay allowed at trial

  • Gary M. Bennett

    Gary M. Bennett

  • Joan Sebastian Vado-Bonilla

    Joan Sebastian Vado-Bonilla

 
 
Updated 5/16/2016 4:50 PM

A man charged with murdering a Bartlett man who had been missing for a year wants to have hearsay evidence allowed at trial that could implicate two other people in Keith Crawford's death.

Gary M. Bennett, 37, of Denver and formerly of Algonquin, is charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and being held at the Kane County jail on $5 million bail.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Crawford was last seen Aug. 10, 2014, and Bennett was charged with murder in August 2015.

Another man, Joan Sebastian Vado-Bonilla, 28, of West Dundee, is charged with concealment of a homicide.

Bennett's defense attorney, Stephen Richards, has asked a judge to allow hearsay statements and to allow other evidence at Bennett's trial to suggest Crawford was murdered by two 23-year-old men, one from Carpentersville and the other from Bartlett, for supposedly shorting his customers in drug deals, according to court records.

The Daily Herald is not naming them because they have not been charged in connection with the death.

The Carpentersville man is referred to repeatedly in Richards' court motion, which argues he was the last person to see Crawford alive at an Aug. 10, 2014, party in West Dundee, bought drugs from Crawford and was overheard by others saying he and the Bartlett man "(messed) up" Crawford because he was shorting them on drug deals.

The Carpentersville man also lied to police, offered inconsistent stories that were debunked by independent witnesses and within days after Crawford's disappearance was seen flashing a large wad of $10 and $20 bills when he normally was broke, the motion argues.

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"Evidence of (the Carpentersville man's) guilt is hardly remote or speculative," the court motion argues. "(He), by his own admission, was the last person to see Keith Crawford alive. An independent witness will testify that (the Carpentersville man) left the party with Keith Crawford, the same person he had come with and who had driven him."

The Carpentersville man and Crawford were in different gangs, Bennett's court motion argues, and he was heard telling gang member allies "that's one more off their count," in a possible reference to Crawford's murder, the motion argues.

"The alternate suspect was a drug dealer involved with Crawford in drug dealing, was the last person to see him alive, lied repeatedly to the police, and admitted the killing in a statement overheard by an independent witness," Richards' motion argues.

The motion cites numerous legal criteria for the hearsay evidence to be allowed at trial, and Judge John Barsanti will hear arguments on the motion June 24.

Bennett's trial is Aug. 8. He faces 45 to 85 years in prison if convicted and prosecutors prove he fired the shot that killed Crawford.

Vado-Bonilla is due in court June 17. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

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