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Defendant goes through 8 lawyers before cutting deal

Ronald Mackin

Ronald Mackin

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Updated: December 5, 2013 2:54PM

It took eight lawyers and most of his money, but Ronald Mackin finally got justice this week.

Mackin was facing a charge of attempted murder for stabbing a woman in his South Side home in 2012.

The 42-year-old woman claimed she was a victim of domestic abuse.

Mackin, 57, claimed he was the victim of a home invasion. He said the woman was armed with a broken bottle and he was defending himself.

But Mackin was unable to work with most of the attorneys he hired to defend him in court.

Since his arrest in March 2012, he’s spent more than $32,000 on lawyers, he told Cook County Judge James Linn. In a hearing last month, Mackin insisted all of his attorneys were lying to him. He’s even filed complaints against some of them.

Linn seemed amazed at the number of lawyers Mackin has had.

“We have gone through a multitude of lawyers, and the lawyers that you have, I know them professionally,” Linn said. “They are all competent lawyers.”

During the hearing, Mackin became combative, saying Linn wasn’t paying attention to the problems he was having with his lawyers. The judge had enough. He said Mackin was paranoid and ordered a psychological exam — which Mackin later refused to take.

On Wednesday, Mackin appeared in court again with his latest lawyer, Thomas Benno.

Benno — a colorful defense attorney who, in his spare time, wrestles in masked “Lucha Libre” matches — was finally able to work out a deal that satisfied Mackin, prosecutors and the victim.

The attempted murder charge, which carried a potential prison term of six to 30 years, was reduced to aggravated battery, which carries a prison term of two to five years.

Under the agreement, Mackin was sentenced to four years in prison. But with day-for-day prison “good time” — as well as credit for the 18 months he’s served in jail — Mackin will spend another six months behind bars.

Benno said he’s never heard of a defendant going through as many attorneys as Mackin did.

“He fired me three or four times,” Benno said. “The judge said unless you have to absolutely leave, I want you to work this out. I told [Mackin] ‘either keep me or you will have to defend yourself.’ We finally got justice. A lot of attorneys would walk away.”

George Polachek, one of Mackin’s friends, said he had hoped he would “go scot-free.”

“But I’m happy I don’t have to go back and forth to court all the time now,” he said.

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