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Boxing gym owner plans to plead guilty

Published: Thursday, July 17, 2014 11:00 p.m. CDT
Jermain K. Bennett
Kenneth G. Edwards

JOLIET – The boxing gym owner charged with murder for allegedly setting up his business partner for a robbery has agreed to a plea deal.

Special prosecutor Dave Neal and defense attorney Chuck Bretz told Judge Edward Burmila on Thursday that Jermain K. Bennett will enter a guilty plea in court next week.

The terms of the plea deal have not been disclosed. But Bennett, 40, who is also charged with armed robbery and robbery, is expected to testify against co-defendant Kenneth G. Edwards, 46.

“My ability to prove this case [against Edwards] beyond a reasonable doubt is conditional upon a co-defendant’s testimony,” Neal told Burmila on Monday during court proceedings for Edwards, who is scheduled for trial Aug. 11.

On Aug. 9, 2012, Sean D. McGinn, 39, parked his pickup truck behind the KO Zone Boxing Club, 218 E. Cass St., which he co-owned with Bennett.

Police said McGinn had brought thousands of dollars to buy cocaine from Bennett, who instead planned to rob him. Edwards was waiting in the parking lot and shot McGinn twice while Bennett took the cash. Police said the cocaine Bennett had promised to deliver did not exist.

Nearby residents overheard the shots and called police. Bennett was arrested the day after McGinn’s slaying, while Edwards was arrested last October.

Neal was assigned to the cases from the attorney general’s office in February after the court became aware of a potential conflict between a witness and the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office.

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