The arraigment of a 71-year-old Homewood man who has been accused of sexually assaulting a child over a two-year period has been set for next month.
Hugh T. Copeland has been in custody since Oct. 3 on a $300,000 bond. He appeared in a Markham courtroom before Cook County Judge Darron E. Bowden at a brief hearing Wednesday, Oct. 24; two attorneys filed their appearance for his defense.
Just as Copeland was being led out of lock-up, with a pronounced limp and in khaki-colored Department of Corrections garb, a sound that could have been a laugh or a cough emerged from the galley.
Bowden stopped the proceedings to ask the person who made the noise to remove themselves from the courtroom. When nobody owned up to the interruption, he ordered all the public in the courtroom to leave.
Among the crowd that formed outside the courtroom, a woman told the deputies she was Copeland's wife, but the deputies apologized and said they couldn't let her back in the courtroom.
After Copeland's hearing, Wayne Johnson and Paul S. Johnson of Orland Park-based Johnson & Johnson, Ltd. told Patch they will act as co-counsel on the case.
Wayne Johnson also said they have no comment on the case at this time, as they were just recently retained.
Police say Copeland sexually assaulted a juvenile over the course of two years, with the most recent incident occurring on Aug. 12; Prosecutors said at a previous hearing that Copeland had made admissions to police regarding some of the incidents.
Copeland, who has reportedly been married for 14 years, is also retired from a 47-year career at William Wrigley Co. and served in the U.S. Air Force for two years.
The arraignment has been set for Nov. 7 in Judge Brian K. Flaherty's court in Markham.