CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–October 11, 2011 —Three suburban teenagers will appear in Bridgeview bond court at 9 a.m. today after they were each charged with two counts of 1st Degree Murder for their roles in the September deaths of John and Maria Granat, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Tuesday
Christopher Wyma, 17, of Bridgeview, Mohammad Salahat, 17, of Chicago Ridge, and Ehab Qasem, 19, of Hickory Hills, are each charged with murder.
Wyma and Salahat are seniors at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School, where John Granat, 17, of Palos Heights, was also a senior. Granat was charged last month with two counts of 1st Degree Murder for his role in the deaths of his parents. Qasem is a 2011 graduate of Stagg High who was friends with the defendants.
The two are charged with carrying out a pre-arranged plan to murder and rob the victims of thousands of dollars in cash they had in their possession.
On Sept. 10, Cook County Sheriff’s dispatchers received a 911 call from the teenage Granat, who was on a cell phone outside his family home in unincorporated Palos Township. He told a dispatcher he awoke that morning to find the home disheveled, then went upstairs to wake his parents for church, only to find them covered in blood, dead. Maria Granat had been repeatedly stabbed while in bed, while John Granat Sr. was bludgeoned to death and found laying on the floor on the side of the bed.
Investigators found no signs of forced entry to the home and Granat said he fell asleep in the basement around 12:30 a.m. and was in the home the entire night. But investgators learned that Palos Heights Police had stopped Granat for a minor traffic offense at 5:17 a.m. at 122nd Street and Harlem Avenue. That led to the first of what would be several conflicting stories Granat gave investigators about his activities in the hours before he called 911.
Granat had told investigators he was with Wyma, Salahat and Qasem, but when they were first questioned, they denied being with him. Still, investigators continued to pursue leads and interview friends even after Granat had been charged with murder.
On Sunday, Cook County Sheriff’s investigators began questioning Wyma, Salahat and Qasem about their activities and whereabouts the night of the murders.
Salahat told detectives he drove Wyma and Qasem to the Granat home and the teen let them inside around 2 a.m. Salahat, Wyma and Qasem told investigators they, along with Granat, went upstairs and found Granat’s parents to be asleep in bed. That’s when Salahat, Wyma and Qasem began beating the victims to death with baseball bats, while John Granat began stabbing his mother to death.
Once the victims were dead, Granat provided the other three with some of the thousands of dollars in cash that was in his family home. The group then left the home and disposed of their weapons and clothing in area forest preserves and other locations.
The defendants brought in for questioning on Sunday provided detailed, videotaped confessions to their roles in the crimes. They also provided investigators with directions to where the murder weapons could be found, along with the clothing they wore and some of the money they collected the night of the murders.
Detectives recovered a knife, baseball bats, clothing and cash in the stated locations.
Granat is being held without bond in the psychiatric wing of Cermak Hospital at the Cook County Jail. His next hearing is also set for today in Bridgeview.