Daily Herald
Blake's attorney possesses background in murder cases
By Madeleine Doubek | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 8/4/2009 5:03 PM | Updated: 8/4/2009 9:49 PM

Originally published Jan. 12, 1993

The attorney who pressured Palatine police to either charge or release Martin E. Blake Monday is experienced at murder defense and has had a hand in several other prominent suburban murder cases.

Dennis J Born, a partner in the Northbrook law firm of Gevirtz, Born & Kissel, spent much of Monday afternoon at the Palatine Police Department trying to secure the release of Blake, who had been held since about 3 p.m. Saturday for questioning about the murder of seven people inside a Brown's Chicken & Pasta restaurant.

Born also recently defended David J. Biro, the Winnetka youth convicted of the murders of Nancy and Richard Langert.

Colleagues say they believe Born assisted his law partner, James E Kissel, in defending stalker-murderer Wayne T. Chaney against charges of rape and home invasion filed by his wife, Connie Chaney. And Robert L. Gevirtz, the firm's most prominent member, also assisted another attorney during the trial of Hoffman Estates resident and United Airlines pilot Mark Wilkinson, who also was convicted of murdering his wife, Gilda Wilkinson.

Gevirtz was one of the top administrators in the Cook County Public Defender's office several years ago and once was one of three finalists for the job of Cook County Public Defender.

Born also started out with the public defender's office about 14 years ago in the traffic division. He worked for about two years in the early 1980s on the public defender's murder task force, a group of attorneys who handle murder cases exclusively.

"They're all former public defenders. They're all three good lawyers," said assistant public defender Scott Slomm, who works out of the Rolling Meadows courthouse.

Born serves as chairman of the criminal law committee of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association, said another assistant public defender at the Rolling Meadows court, Jim Paese.

"He's a gregarious sort," he said.

Before forming the Northbrook firm about two years ago, Born had left the public defender's office to join the private Skokie law firm of Kleper & Associates, where he again concentrated on murder and violent crimes cases.

Criminal defense attorney and IIT Chicago Kent College of Law professor Richard Kling, who also worked with Born in the public defender's office, calls him "an ethical straight shooter and a vigorous advocate."