SKOKIE CRIMINAL COURT — Brandon Hinton, who was convicted last month in the 2011 murder of an elderly and developmentally disabled Rogers Park man, fired his attorney during his sentencing hearing Tuesday.
The move delayed the conclusion of a two-year court room saga that has been closely followed by a dozen family members and supporters of the murdered John Costulas, 61.
"This will delay things, but the defendant has a constitutional right" to an attorney he wants, said Judge Garritt Howard.
The judge told Hinton's former defense attorney, Brendan Shiller, that he did "an outstanding job" while representing the defendant during the three-day trial.
A jury convicted Hinton of first-degree murder on Sept. 19.
Outside the courtroom, Shiller said Hinton "wants another attorney to take a look at the case to see whether we [messed] up or not."
In Shiller's place, a public defender was appointed. The flustered defender told the judge it would take months for her to read through the case file and trial transcripts to prepare for a hearing.
Nonetheless, a status hearing was set for Nov. 21.
John Costulas's brother, Nick Costulas, has attended dozens of hearings in the case since 2011.
Now, he has to wait yet again for the case to come to an end.
Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Edward McCarthy told Costulas it could be "months" before another sentencing trial was held.
"I don't know what the hell this other [attorney] is going to do for him," he said as he was leaving the court room.