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Articles Tagged with Chicago murder attorney

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?

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

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. 

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.” 

larry-tseng-183721-unsplash-300x225Cook County judge, William Gamboney, found former Chicago police officer, Lowell Houser guilty of second-degree murder recently. Houser requested a bench trial as some police officers are wont to do when facing serious charges.  

The trial stemmed from a 2017 off-duty shooting of Jose Nieves. Houser has been under house arrest since being charged with first-degree murder.

The judge ruled that Nieves may have been aggressive toward Houser, but the man was unarmed at the time of the shooting. He therefore decided that Houser’s actions were unreasonable and that the shooting was unjustified. 

raban-haaijk-118657-copy-225x300Parolee Donald Thurman is accused of raping and then murdering a University of Illinois honor student. Prosecutors say that he followed the woman to her car as she was coming out of class. They also say that she ignored several attempts to initiate conversation and that drew the ire of Thurman who put her in a chokehold until she passed out and then raped her in her own car. Prosecutors used surveillance footage of a nearby parking garage to show that Thurman followed the woman to her car. They traced a palm print from the woman’s car to Thurman and searched his home finding a distinctive white jacket that he wore in the video. 

Thurman’s Confession

Thurman confessed to sexually assaulting the woman and physically attacking her, but he denied technically raping her. The woman was found in her car and pronounced dead at the scene. She died from strangulation.

fabio-bracht-e3oE-l-rtpA-unsplash-copy-300x225In 2018, Alex Cordell Hughs was charged with shooting a victim in a Hobart Walmart. The incident began when Hughs and his girlfriend, Shaqueta Wright, were trying to put their cart back. The victim’s car veered into them prompting some kind of skirmish during which the victim was shot three times, allegedly by Hughs. 

After being charged, Wright pled the Fifth and was given “use immunity” by prosecutors. Afterward, Wright provided the police with some information during a deposition which prosecutors requested be read into the record. Use immunity prevents a defendant’s testimony from being entered against them in a trial. 

Wright’s attorney is also representing Hughs in the case against a false reporting charge.  Naturally, Hugh’s defense attorney (who is also representing Wright) objected to the request on the grounds that the prosecution must give her use immunity while she is on the stand as well, the testimony might be able to open her up to other charges.

hajran-pambudi-403848-copy-300x199In 2014, Shamiya Adams went over to her friend’s house for a sleepover on Chicago’s West Side. It was a completely random event. Calculating the odds that something like this could happen would drive a person insane. No doubt her family is wondering how or why such a tragedy could happen.

The shot missed its intended targets and left no trace that it had struck the building where the 11-year-old was. It made its way through an open window that was up a few inches just to let the air in. It then proceeded to travel through a closet wall, went into the bedroom where Shamiya was, and struck her in the head.

Now, a 24-year-old, Tevin Lee, has been charged with her murder. He is the one who police say fired the bullet that entered the skull of Shamiya Adams.

alex-boyd-260321-copy-300x200Krysztof Marek entered a neighboring apartment and killed four people who were gathered around the table for dinner. Then he went upstairs into another apartment and executed a fifth. Why? According to police, the man was being evicted from his Chicago condo. Marek left behind a note in his native Polish: “Tomorrow!! No Mercy! Enough!! They have to pay for it!!”

After executing the five people, Marek went back to his own apartment and greeted officers as they came to his door. He told them that he thought they were looking for him and then he confessed to the murders. 

Investigators later found multiple grievances against his neighbors although it was not clear specifically which neighbors had incited Marek’s anger. Marek had accused one neighbor of walking too loudly on the floor above his apartment. He left behind a series of unhinged messages that seem to be gearing himself up for the attack.

sam-poullain-435864-unsplash-copy-300x169A 9-year-old stands accused of starting a fire that killed five people, including three other children. He has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, two counts of arson, and one count of aggravated arson. Cases like this are rare. The youngest child ever to be sentenced to life in prison was Lionel Tate, when he was 13. This child, whose name has been withheld by authorities will be among the youngest ever to stand trial for murder.

More confusing still is that fact that the majority of children who were tried as adults did not commit some other crime that resulted in a death, but murdered someone else with a direct weapon. This child is accused of starting a fire that led to five deaths.

Prosecutors say that they have enough evidence to prove that the child started the fire intentionally and knew that the fire could result in the deaths or injury of other people. However, child psychologists argue that the 9-year-old brain has not fully developed enough to understand the consequences of those actions.