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Articles Posted in Murder

Details are beginning to emerge about the suspect in the recent Weathertech shooting. According to reports, 37-year-old Charles McKnight is accused of shooting and killing another 37-year-old man and wounding two others. McKnight was found in possession of some of the victim’s belongings. Two Weathertech employees confronted McKnight near the end of his shift after they accused him of stealing the personal belongings of another employee at gunpoint. An argument ensued and McKnight shot at the men confronting him. 

McKnight worked for a temp agency and managed to pass a background check although the press was able to discover that McKnight had been arrested several times for minor offenses. McKnight was never prosecuted on any of those charges which ended up being dropped. All the offenses were minor offenses such as simple battery and disorderly conduct. According to the temp agency, they use another company to conduct criminal background checks and McKnight’s came back clear. 

One of the victims was treated and released from the hospital while the other is in critical condition. McKnight will likely face one charge of first-degree murder and potentially two charges of attempted murder. His bond has been set at $5 million.

A man with an extensive felony record has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder after stabbing another man aboard a CTA Blue Line train. At the time of the stabbing, the man was on bond for another case. 

Police say that the attack was not random, but that the two men appeared to know each other. Earlier in the evening, the men were seen together on surveillance footage purchasing liquor from a store. The defendant withdrew money from an ATM. Later that evening the defendant fell asleep aboard the train and his companion, the victim, attempted to reach into his pocket. The defendant then pulled a knife and began slashing and stabbing the victim. The victim died of his injuries. The defendant is now facing first-degree murder charges. 

Police say that the defendant got off at the next stop and left his companion to bleed to death. He was found by another passenger and the matter was referred to the police. The defendant, meanwhile, ended up at a hospital the next day for a condition unrelated to the stabbing. There, he became aggressive with hospital staff who matched his image to a police bulletin concerning the stabbing. 

In terms of senseless tragedies, this one makes as little sense as any. One man is facing charges after he allegedly poured lighter fluid on a sleeping homeless man and ignited it. The homeless man, who was featured in a documentary, was known to Chicagoans as “the walking man.” He is not expected to survive the attack. 

A 27-year-old man has been charged. If the victim dies, the defendant will face charges of first-degree murder. Surveillance cameras show the man scoping the area for traffic before dumping the lighter fluid from a cup onto the sleeping man. The homeless man began thrashing wildly when a security guard noticed him and put out the blaze. 911 was immediately called. 

Police used the surveillance footage to track down the suspect, who told them that he had found a cup full of gasoline and wanted to set some trash on fire. When asked why, he told police he was an angry person. The defendant maintains that he was not aware that a person was sleeping there. Medical personnel have described the burns as “non-survivable.”

One brother is providing testimony against the other for a 45-year sentence after the two were involved in a robbery/homicide outside of a convenience store. The younger brother testified that his older brother handed him the gun he used to shoot the man. The victim was targeted after he was seen counting money outside of the convenience store. The two men then split the $50 he had on him.

The brother who did not provide testimony on behalf of the state is facing a mandatory life sentence if convicted. The younger brother testified that he pulled the trigger, but his older brother handed him the gun. The younger brother took $30 for pulling the trigger. 

Discrediting the Witness

Chicago residents are no strangers to gunfire, but this particular mass shooting was a targeted attack on a predominantly Black neighborhood in one of Buffalo’s East Side neighborhoods. The shooter traveled halfway across the state from a small rural upstate town to commit the murder. He researched which area was most likely to contain the most Black people and murdered eight Black people and two white people, all told.

In this case, a federal background check was conducted on the shooter prior to his purchase of an AR-15 in January of this year. Similar failures occurred in the Nikolas Cruz case, the killer who used an AR-15 to shoot up a Parkland high school. In the latter case, the federal government was sued for failing to intervene and for negligently issuing a permit to a deranged psychopath, but the lawsuit was dismissed.

Which Laws Failed?

The police have begun to move on a murder that occurred in 1998 after DNA evidence linked two men to the crime scene. The one man agreed to testify against the other and now, the defense team representing the other man has moved to gain access to the witness and co-conspirator’s medical history. The idea is to suggest that the defendant lacked the ability to remember that he committed a murder in 1998 or any of the details concerning that murder. In other words, they want to suggest that the individual is so unreliable, their testimony should not be admissible in court.

The court has agreed to give the defense access to the witness’s medical records. From this, they will be able to build a defense that the witness is either simply saying what the police want to hear in exchange for testimony against the other defendant and his ability to recall details from such a long time ago is compromised by psychiatric illness and intervention.

Is This Tactic Likely to be Successful?

A recent criminal suit filed against a babysitter has an old controversy back in the forefront. The babysitter is being charged with several felonies related to the death of an infant under her care. The defense had moved to exclude evidence produced by a Chicago physician who would testify that the baby died of trauma related to being shaken.

To make that determination, the doctor uses evidence provided from studies that tell forensic doctors to look for key hallmarks of shaken baby syndrome. The research has come under fire recently sparking a dispute between scientists. 

According to the California Innocence Project, shaken baby syndrome has never been conclusively proven. The notion remains a hypothesis yet is used to convict parents using forensic doctors all the time. These doctors will testify that brain trauma is almost certain the result of the baby being shaken. While the defense can contest this hypothesis, it does not always stop a conviction.

In a high-profile criminal trial, a Chicago judge issued a stunning bench verdict in favor of the defense. The case gained national attention after a video surfaced of a man hauling a suitcase out of a public housing complex elevator and struggling to drag it outside. The suitcase allegedly contained the body of a murdered woman. In the video, the man appeared to change his clothes in between exiting and entering the elevator with various cleaning supplies. The judge ruled that this did not constitute evidence of a crime, leaving the family of the victim distressed.

The problem for prosecutors was that there was no evidence of foul play. They could not determine if the victim had actually been murdered and there was no evidence of a crime inside of her apartment. The judge stated that the 65-year-old woman had been drinking that day, and she could have died of natural causes. The defendant had faced murder charges before in 1985, but that case was dismissed when a witness failed to show up. 

The defendant could be seen dragging the suitcase out of the housing complex into a dumpster, lifting the suitcase into the dumpster, then removing trash from other dumpsters to conceal the suitcase. However, the woman’s body was never recovered. 

No, the George Floyd situation has not yet been resolved. Three Minneapolis police officers are still facing charges for aiding and abetting the murder of the detainee. Officer Derek Chauvin has been charged and convicted of causing his death. Chauvin was the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes before he lost consciousness and died. The three others stood by and watched as Floyd was asphyxiated to death.

Chauvin argued at trial that Floyd had a history of heart problems and drug dependency which contributed to his death. However, they could not prove that there was anyone alive who could survive a grown man kneeling on their carotid artery for 9 minutes. Hence, he was convicted of the homicide of George Floyd.

The three men have been convicted of violating Floyd’s civil rights and two of the officers were charged with failing to intervene on Floyd’s behalf. The officers claimed that Chauvin was the lead officer on the scene and so they deferred to him for leadership. They said they were not trained to intervene on a suspect’s behalf against a police officer. However, federal prosecutors reminded them that they were, in fact, duty-bound to do so. 

A young woman was with three male friends when a fourth individual attempted to hit on her. The girl was not having it and eventually, the friends stepped in on her behalf. The man who was hitting on the girl was affronted by this and two of her friends wound up dead with a third suffering severe injuries in a knife attack. Now, the man is on trial facing two first-degree murders and a third attempted murder charge. The defendant is claiming self-defense. The prosecution has rejected an offer for a lesser charge.

Will self-defense work here?

It is hard to say. Both the prosecution and the defense are establishing their own timeline for events. Prosecutors will say that the defendant hit on a girl and that her friends warned the defendant off. The defendant then became irate and stabbed them after further disputes related to the unwanted attention emerged. The defendant claims that the friends organized an assault on him in which he was placed in a chokehold. This led to further altercations that eventually led to the stabbing.

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