January 14, 2014
Chicago man found guilty in 2011 New Lenox Township murder
JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that a jury on Tuesday found a Chicago man guilty of murdering a man at his home in New Lenox Township in 2011.
Rodney Julun, 25, of 6958 S. Laflin, beat 59-year-old Dwight Jones to death at his home just outside of New Lenox on June 10, 2011. Julun, who had met Jones that same evening in Chicago, had traveled with the victim to his house with the intention of committing a robbery or a burglary.
Julun savagely beat Jones about the head with a brass lamp that was inside his house, according to evidence presented at the trial. After the beating, he wrapped Jones in a sheet on his bed and doused him with gasoline.
The defendant left the house that night in the victim’s Volkswagen Jetta and took his cell phone, cash and other valuables that he attempted to sell on the streets and at Chicago pawn shops. He returned the following day with two other friends to steal additional items, including televisions, computers and jewelry.
Julun drove Jones’ car for several days before he and the other two men were arrested by Will County Sheriff’s Police. The other two men, John White, 23 and David Reed, 25, pleaded guilty to residential burglary in 2012 and were sentenced to six years and four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections respectively.
During the investigation, Julun told police several different stories about events leading up to the murder. However, he took the witness stand on Monday and falsely testified that he acted in self-defense, alleging that Jones sexually assaulted him. During his testimony, he admitted that he had lied to police during the investigation. Assistant State’s Attorneys Jim Long, Chris Regis and Erin Krone adeptly presented testimony and evidence establishing the state’s case in chief and then shined a spotlight on the myriad of inconsistencies in the defendant’s ridiculous version of events.
“Rodney Julun is an amoral street hustler and an insidious liar who went home with Dwight Jones intending to brutally murder him just so he could steal and fence his valuables,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “After he was caught, Julun told so many lies to Will County Sheriff’s investigators that he was a sitting duck as prosecutor Chris Regis completely destroyed his credibility on cross examination. Jurors needed less than 90 minutes to deliberate, and they had no trouble determining that the evidence painstakingly gathered by sheriff’s detectives and skillfully presented by our prosecutors proved Rodney Julun guilty of this heinous murder beyond a reasonable doubt. ”
The state’s attorney credited the team of Sheriff’s Department investigators led by Detective Jeremy Viduna for conducting a first-rate investigation that began in Will County and led them to Chicago’s South Side, where Julun first came across Jones.
Jurors deliberated for less than 90 minutes before rendering a guilty verdict. Julun faces between 20 and 60 years in prison when he is sentenced by Circuit Judge Daniel Rozak on April 1.