Trial date set for indicted police sargeant

A police officer charged with a pair of felonies for the alleged beating of a suspect in 2003 is scheduled to stand trial this spring. Sgt. Michael Murphy, who was indicted in October by federal prosecutors, learned in a pretrial hearing last week that the case will go before a jury on April 21.

Murphy has been serving a paid suspension since the grand jury agreed with prosecutors to send the case to trial. Last month Murphy hired attorney Rick Halprin to defend him, and Halprin has said his client intends to see the matter tried before a jury. Halprin is a well known Chicago defense attorney who recently made headlines in the city advocating for a suspected kingpin in the Chicago Outfit.

Murphy, 42, is a 17 year veteran of the Forest Park Police Department. If convicted he faces a possible maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

Fenwick teacher receives top honor

Through its Catholic school offices, the Archdiocese of Chicago recognized an area high school teacher for his work in the field of religious studies. John Paulett, a second-year instructor at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, will receive the Heart of the School Award Jan. 25 at a ceremony at the Wyndham Hotel. According to a statement released by the school, Paulett beat out more than 350 nominees for the award.

Paulett is the fourth teacher at Fenwick to receive the Heart of the School Award, which is the highest honor given by the Office of Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Of the nearly 1,200 students at Fenwick, 27 are residents of Forest Park, according to the school.

McAdam Landscaping expands

McAdam Landscaping, located on the village’s south side, is expanding its operation to include a newly acquired parcel in New Lenox, just east of Joliet. McAdam Landscaping, headquartered on a four-acre parcel at 2001 Desplaines Ave., purchased more than five acres on Gougar Road in late December, according to a statement from the company. The site was formerly the home of Forever Green Landscaping.

By April, President Scott McAdam hopes to have six employees staffing the new location. Over the next three years that figure could increase to more than 20. The parcel includes a 4,300-square foot commercial building and an irrigated yard for growing shrubs and trees.

In Forest Park, McAdam Landscaping has 20 full-time employees and a part-time workforce that exceeds 80 during the summer months.

Friends to honor fromer cabbie

As friends prepare to note the anniversary of his death, the motorist who struck and killed a local cab driver in an apparent hit-and-run on Madison Street last year still has not been found, according to police. Abderrahmane Lamrabet, 52, a Moroccan native, was killed Jan. 21, 2007, while attempting to cross the street.

According to police and witness accounts, Lamrabet was struck shortly before 8 p.m. having just left the Kazzbarr where he was watching the NFL playoffs. Lamrabet was a regular at the tavern and employees there helped organize a fundraiser last year to assist his family with funeral expenses. A date has not been set for the gathering, but staff at the bar plan to note the anniversary of Lamrabet’s death, they said.

“There were no arrests ever made in the case,” Deputy Chief Tom Aftanas said. “I don’t think any independent witnesses ever came forward.”

Lamrabet was a resident of Forest Park and for eight years drove a taxi for the Blue Cab Company.

Anyone with information on the case is encouraged to contact police, and can do so anonymously using the department’s non-emergency number, Aftanas said.