Murder charges filed in McClendon deaths

October 29, 2009 2:53:07 PM PDT
Parents defend their son as he is charged with murder in the deaths of Milton and Ruby McClendon.The bodies of the elderly couple were found in a Cook County Forest Preserve in Calumet City on October 19.

On Thursday, Gregory Brooks Junior, 18, and Reo Thompson, 17, were charged with four counts of murder in perpetration of a burglary and two counts of murder in the perpetration of a robbery. The Hammond teens already faced charges of robbery, burglary, confinement and auto theft in connection to the case.

If convicted on all charges, the teenagers could get a maximum term of 130 years in prison.

The McClendon's son Theo spoke to ABC7 after hearing murder charges had been filed against the teens, who were arrested over the weekend.

"It helps the neighborhood heal and society heal by knowing that the system can work," said Theo McClendon.

Gregory and Veretta Brooks send their condolences to the McClendon family, but maintain their son is innocent of the crime. They blame the murders - in part - on the negative influence of Thompson.

"We're not monsters. We didn't raise no monster. And my child, I believe my child didn't do this. I believe my child was in it, yes some kind of way. He was involved in it. He got hung up into this by being with this child, this other kid, but I don't believe my child pulled no trigger," said Gregory Brooks, Sr., suspect's father.

"We'd like to relay to the McClendon family that we are god fearing people, working people, I have elderly parents and my heart goes out to them. I have not been able to work, function, properly since. And, I feel for them," said Veretta Brooks, mother.

Prosecutors do not intend to file any charges against a third person the teens claim was in on the attack.

"If you and another person were in trouble, the natural tendency of people is to blame another person," said Mayor Thomas McDermott, Hammond. "We have no reason to believe at this point that third person is actually involved."

Thompson and Brooks allegedly robbed the popular Hammond couple, stole their 1997 Cadillac Eldorado, and killed them. The bodies of Milton, 78, and Ruby, 76, were found at the forest preserve near Calumet City. They had been shot in the head.

"There's a saying in the black community that says we raise our daughters, we just love our sons. These fellows might have had a lot of love, but no upbringing," said Theo McClendon

According to court records, Brooks told police that he and two others went to the McClendon house pretnending to have car trouble so they could rob them. Thompson reportedly admitted to stealing jewelry and a power drill. A surveillance camera, according to police, shows Brooks selling jewelry at a Hammond, Ind., pawnshop.

The two teenagers are due back in court on Friday.


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