The family of Milton and Ruby McClendon left court on Friday morning after once again coming face to face with the two teens accused of robbing and murdering the popular Hammond couple.
"It was numbing seeing the suspects again. But, as I mentioned before, it was a day of healing and a day of forgiveness," said Garrard McClendon.
Each flanked by their public defenders, Brooks and Thompson made a formal appearances in court for the several new counts of murder filed this week.
No one from either boy's family appeared to be in court as the McClendons say the incident is a tragedy for the boys family as well.
"I understand what they are going through too. I'm trying to be sympathetic on both sides. Both families are suffering," said Quanica McClendon.
The teens have already pleaded not guilty to robbery and auto theft.
Because of the murder charge, Brooks and Thompson were denied bail as Thompson's attorney asked the court to extend a gag order to include Hammond mayor Thomas McDermott because of comments he allegedly made about the case to a local radio station.
"You probably have to give him that much in the early going, but going forward he'll be duly advised and things should work themselves off," said Theodore McClendon.
Investigators say the Hammond teens first robbed, then killed the McClendons. Their bodies were discovered in a Cook Couty Forest Preserve on October 19. Both had been shot in the head.
Today as the system works, relatives of Milton and Rudy say they're struggling to heal.
"I'm sure it's a process for me. I'm angry right now. It will take time. I will forgive them eventually. It's too soon for me right now, though," said Duane McClendon.
A judge set a trial date of April 19 for both teens but did not rule on the extent of a gag order because he said he would talk to the Hammond mayor and ask him to no longer make public comments on the case. Each faces a maximum of 130 years in prison.