COVID-19 Update: We Are Open 24/7 to Service Current and New Clients.

Articles Posted in Murder

ryan-ei-cl8xcbco-unsplash-copy-300x200An ex-Chicago cop’s son is free on bail after being accused of shooting three people. 26-year-old Steven Bradley, Jr. is charged with attempted murder. His fiancee put up the $25,000 necessary for his release. 

The shootings occurred in Dolton, a small Chicago suburb that saw an uptick in criminal activity. Local law enforcement expressed shock and dismay that Bradley was allowed free on bail after being charged with three attempted homicides. 

Violent Crime and Bail

tim-graf-202490-copy-300x200A Chicago jury has convicted Shomari Legghette of the first-degree murder of Chicago police officer Paul Bauer. Legghette attempted to say that the shooting was in self-defense, but the jury listened to evidence that Bauer had pursued Legghette after other officers called in suspicious activity around the Thompson Center. Bauer was in uniform at the time of the shooting but was wearing a jacket over his uniform, bolstering the defense’s argument that Legghette had no reason to believe that Bauer was a police officer. 

Bauer pursued Legghette on foot and a fight broke out. The two ended up tumbling down the stairs. The prosecution asked jurors to focus on the 25 seconds between when the fall happened and the sound of gunfire. Much of the incident was caught on video. Prosecutors said that Legghette should have figured the situation out when he saw Bauer with handcuffs and noticed his police radio on full volume. 

Legghette Fails to Testify

danielle-rice-v6I0YqzazbE-unsplash-copy-225x300LaRoyce Tankson was acquitted of first-degree murder charges by a Cook County judge in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man. The judge believed that Tankson was in fear for his own life when he discharged his weapon, meaning that the shooting was justified. Family and friends of Tankson breathed a sigh of relief as the verdict was read.

It is not uncommon for police officers to prefer bench trials as opposed to jury trials, especially in Chicago where the police do not have the best of reputations. Nonetheless, prosecutors set forth the case against Tankson himself, characterizing him as a cowboy who acted callously. 

What Happened?

matt-popovich-60437-copy-300x162The trial of Shomari Legghette is set to begin. Legghette is charged with murdering 31-year Chicago police commander Paul Bauer after the two men tussled in a stairwell outside the Thompson Center in February of 2018. Legghette faces an uphill battle. Legghette faces a first-degree murder charge along with several drug and weapons charges. Legghette, who is a four-time convicted felon, may take the stand on his own behalf. He will say that the killing was in self-defense and the defense will introduce evidence that Bauer and Legghette had a long acrimonious history.

Taking the Stand on Your Own Behalf

The decision to place a defendant who is facing criminal charges on the stand is a difficult one for an attorney to make. If you allow your client to take the stand, it opens the prosecution up to bring in other evidence of past crimes. In this case, however, the defense may have no choice. It is common for those who argue that a killing was justified because it was done in self-defense to take the stand.

ryan-ei-cl8xcbco-unsplash-copy-300x200Hours after sharing a meal together, an unnamed woman shot and killed her boyfriend, Steef Giovanni Corniel. The woman told police that Corniel had struck her several times and been physically abusive in the past. She said that Corniel had struck her while she was driving and later choked her at her apartment. He also threatened to kill her mother, according to the woman.

River Grove police chief Mike Konwinski believes the woman should be charged with murder, but Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx says that there is not enough evidence to prosecute. Corniel’s family believes that the woman should be charged and in a statement, Corniel’s grandfather claimed that the killing was not self-defense, it was murder.

What Happened?

david-von-diemar-745969-unsplash-copy-200x300A former Chicago police officer, Lowell Houser, was given a 10-year sentence for second-degree murder just recently. Houser has already spent three years under house arrest with an ankle monitor and he will have that time credited toward his sentence. Since those convicted of second-degree murder are only required to serve half of their sentence, Houser will only be required to serve two more years after a jury found him guilty in the slaying of Jose Nieves. 

Prosecutors wanted to charge Houser with first-degree murder, but a judge nixed the idea when he ruled that Houser truly believed that he was under a direct threat when he fired the gun. The same judge, however, ruled that the shooting was not justified regardless of Houser’s subjective belief that he was in danger. 

The Sentencing Phase

marco-chilese-2sMbKyQvom4-unsplash-copy-200x300A member of the Satan Disciples gang is under investigation over the murder of his cellmate, 19-year-old Pedro Ruiz, who is believed to be a member of a rival gang known as the Almighty Saints. The 24-year-old inmate, whose name was not released to the press, is also believed to have been a part of a vicious beating on a Cook County inmate three months prior. The name of the suspect will not be released until he has been charged with the murder, authorities said.

The same inmate was locked up on charges that he used a rifle to injure a man in 2017. Police say that he was among five detainees who ruthlessly beat another inmate. Video surveillance shows him punching and kicking a 41-year-old victim. Other members of the group then stabbed him with a shank. 

“No Comment”

quentin-kemmel-445082-copy-300x200The trial of George Kleopa began Tuesday after eight years slogging its way through the court system. Kleopa is accused of killing his then-girlfriend, Michele Peters, with whom he lived. Interestingly, Kleopa is being charged with involuntary manslaughter, as opposed to second- or first-degree murder. Kleopa claims that he asked Michele to hand him a gun so that he could clean it when the gun misfired and shot her. The bullet entered her right cheek and became lodged in her brain. She was killed.

The Background

Kleopa and Peters had been together for 10 years before her death. They had two young sons together. By all accounts, Kleopa was “hysterical” after the accident and paramedics recalled having to pull him off his girlfriend’s body after which he cried on the couch. 

louis-reed-747388-unsplash-copy-300x200Bruce Lindahl has been linked to the 1976 murder of a Woodridge teenager and is a suspect in 12 murders and nine rapes. The one thing that Lindahl has going in his favor, however, is that he is already dead. Lindahl died in 1981 before DNA technology would be combined with databases to help route out serial murderers and rapists. To date, several tips have been phoned in concerning Lindahl, and more are expected. 

Investigators believe that Lindahl committed at least nine murders and there is a high chance that he may be linked to three others. Of the rapes, several of his victims have died, but there are also some who are still alive. 

The case of 16-year-old Pamela Maurer was cold for over 40 years before police used a “new kind of DNA analysis” to link Lindahl to the murder. This same method was used to identify the “Golden State Killer” who authorities believe is responsible for several murders and rapes in California. 

benjamin-faust-XLxhM6UH4pA-unsplash-300x225Cook County optometrist, 55-year-old Anthony Prate, has been given a $3 million bond by judge Goebel. The decision to place a $3M bond on Prate comes after the implementation of Rule 26, which is designed to release more low-risk suspects who have been accused of crimes and decrease the jail population. However, since Prate has been accused of murder, the judge has a right to either set bond or deny a release entirely. In this case, the judge has decided to set bond at a very large number. 

Prate has been charged with stabbing his girlfriend to death. The judge required Prate to pay 10% or $300,000 of the bond amount. He will wear an ankle monitor while he is released and live with his mother during the duration of his release. Prate was also ordered to surrender his passport and any firearms he owns. 

The defense argued that Prate is not a flight risk, has no prior criminal record, and posed no threat to the general public including any witnesses who may testify at his trial. The judge agreed that there was no legal way that he could deny bail in this case. Prosecutors, of course, took umbrage with the idea that Prate was not a risk, calling him “extremely dangerous.”