Trial Called Off For Woman Charged With Setting Up Teenage Sex Romp
Telephones and computers changed hands in court Friday and Margarita Hernandez's trial next week on sex charges was canceled.
An FBI agent returned the cell phone of a woman charged with setting up a sex romp with a teenage boy, and the woman immediately surrendered the phone to a Joliet police detective during a brief court hearing Friday morning.
Also Friday, computers seized from the woman's home on Joliet's far west side were turned over by the police detective. The computers were taken by lawyers defending her against charges she had sex with a 15-year-old from Chicago.
The attorneys representing Margarita Hernandez, Steve Landis and Dan Locallo, said they took the computers for safekeeping and that they would be tested by experts to see if Hernandez used them to communicate with the teen.
Hernandez, 33, was arrested in October after allegedly orchestrating the sexual liaison with the teen. The youth is a friend of the son of one of Hernandez's cousins, officials said.
Hernandez allegedly had sex with the teen in the home she shares with her much-older live-in lover, veteran weekly newspaperman John Gabriel. Gabriel believes Hernandez is nothing more than a patsy in a frame-up concocted by the numerous enemies he has made over the years in the cutthroat world of community news. But during a hearing earlier this week, Landis said Hernandez was actually set up by either her cousin or the mother of the boy she allegedly bedded.
At that earlier hearing, Judge Edward Burmila set the start of Hernandez's trial for Monday. But after the exchange of the phone and computers, that date was pulled off the table so the devices can be examined. Burmila scheduled a status date for March 18.