WBEZ | trial http://www.wbez.org/tags/trial Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago clergy call for calm after Martin verdict http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-clergy-call-calm-after-martin-verdict-108047 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP13071307248.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>CHICAGO (AP) &mdash; Chicago&#39;s Black clergy are calling for calm in the wake of the Trayvon Martin verdict.<p>The pleas followed a Florida jury&#39;s decisions to clear former Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman of all charges in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.</p>Zimmerman claimed he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed the teen last year at a condominium development.<p>Martin&#39;s death unleashed debate across the U.S. over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice.</p>Some Chicago activists have called for a downtown rally on Sunday, and clergy will hold news conferences to stress nonviolence.<p>Pastor Ira Acree of Chicago&#39;s Greater St. John Bible Church says the community should become a &quot;united voice for peace.&quot; He says it can&#39;t control the verdict but &quot;can control our streets and communities.&quot;</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Sun, 14 Jul 2013 11:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-clergy-call-calm-after-martin-verdict-108047 Vaughn gets life sentence for killing wife, kids http://www.wbez.org/news/vaughn-gets-life-sentence-killing-wife-kids-104034 <p><p><em>(Updated: 11 a.m.)</em></p><p>JOLIET, Ill. &mdash; A suburban Chicago man was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday for killing his wife and three school-age children in the family&#39;s SUV as they drove to an Illinois waterpark &mdash; allegedly so he could start a new life subsisting in the Canadian wilderness.</p><p>The sentencing of Christopher Vaughn, 37, came two months after jurors found him guilty of killing his 34-year-old wife Kimberly and their children on June 14, 2007. Each child was shot once in the chest and head while buckled in the back seat.</p><p>The judge sentenced to Vaughn to four consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole. Vaughn did not make a statement in court.</p><p>Vaughn, who lived with his family in a spacious Oswego home, faced a mandatory life term for the killings. But the hearing in Joliet gave relatives a chance to confront him and to convey how much pain he caused.</p><p>The 2007 murders started out as a death penalty case, slowing the pace to trial. But Illinois has since abolished capital punishment, making life in prison the maximum penalty.</p><p>Vaughn murdered his family members, prosecutors say, because he saw them as obstacles to his dream of a new life in Canada. He posted wistful Internet messages about building a cabin and settling in the Yukon cut off from the world.</p><p>According to prosecutors, Vaughn woke his family on the day of the killings promising a surprise trip to a water park. But shortly after 5 a.m., he pulled off the road, shot his wife, then killed 12-year-old Abigayle, 11-year-old Cassandra and Blake, 8.</p><p>Abigayle was found holding a stuffed animal; Blake&#39;s wounds indicated he had raised his arm &mdash; to shield himself.</p><p>At trial, defense attorneys told jurors that Vaughn&#39;s wife was to blame, saying she was suicidal over marital strife. They suggested she shot her husband in the wrist and leg, then killed the children and herself.</p><p>Prosecutors balked at that theory, asking jurors whether it seems reasonable that a woman who disliked guns could have shot her husband twice, only grazing him each time, but fatally shot each of her children with a marksman&#39;s precision.</p><p>They contended that Christopher Vaughn shot himself to make it look like his wife carried out the attack, and told jurors that Vaughn showed little emotion after the shootings and was more interested in his damaged clothing than the fate of his family.</p></p> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 08:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/vaughn-gets-life-sentence-killing-wife-kids-104034 Jury deliberations to begin at Abbate civil trial http://www.wbez.org/news/jury-deliberations-begin-abbate-civil-trial-103717 <p><p>Jurors are set to begin deliberating at a potentially landmark federal civil trial focused on whether Chicago police adhere to a code of silence protecting fellow officers accused of wrongdoing.</p><p>They&#39;re expected to withdraw Wednesday to start considering evidence in the case that stems from an off-duty officer&#39;s notorious 2007 beating of a bartender.</p><p>A video of Anthony Abbate attacking Karolina Obrycka went viral and became an embarrassment for police.</p><p>Obrycka sued Abbate and the city for damages.</p><p>In closings Tuesday, plaintiff&#39;s attorney Patrick Provenzale called Abbate &quot;a monster&quot; acting with impunity because of established police culture.</p><p>City attorney Barrett Rubens agreed Abbate was a monster but told jurors he isn&#39;t a &quot;monster that the city created.&quot; And so she says the city isn&#39;t liable for his actions.</p></p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 09:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/jury-deliberations-begin-abbate-civil-trial-103717 Jury has reached its verdict in Cellini trial http://www.wbez.org/story/jury-has-reached-its-verdict-cellini-trial-93662 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-29/RS3732_William Cellini (AP PhotoM. Spencer Green, File)-lpr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Jurors have reached a verdict in the trial of an&nbsp;Illinois powerbroker accused of trying to shake down a Hollywood&nbsp;producer for a campaign donation to then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.</p><p>The federal court clerk announced Tuesday that the verdict in&nbsp;the trial of William Cellini will be read at noon.</p><p>The well-connected millionaire is accused of conspiring with&nbsp;three others in 2004 to extort $1.5 million from the Oscar-winning&nbsp;producer of "Million Dollar Baby." It's the last scheduled trial&nbsp;related to a federal investigation of Blagojevich.</p><p>Prosecutors say Cellini participated in a scheme to extort his&nbsp;friend, Hollywood executive Thomas Rosenberg, by threatening to&nbsp;withhold $220 million in state pension funds from Rosenberg's&nbsp;investment company.</p><p>Cellini's attorneys say he was unwittingly caught in the plot.</p></p> Tue, 01 Nov 2011 15:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/jury-has-reached-its-verdict-cellini-trial-93662 State boards boring but lucrative http://www.wbez.org/story/state-boards-boring-lucrative-93141 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-13/William Cellini (AP PhotoM. Spencer Green, File).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Stuart Levine, the star witness in the government's corruption case against William Cellini, is expected back on the stand Monday. He's giving an insider account of how people who pay attention to state boards that deal with the mundane business of government can make a whole lot of money. He provided the same insights into government when he spent three weeks on the stand in the trial of Tony Rezko, who was a top fundraiser for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.<br> <br> Stuart Levine has told jurors how he used his position on obscure state boards to secretly pay himself sham fees. He was on the board of TRS, the Teacher's Retirement System, and he says that at Cellini's urging, he embarrassed and forced the resignation of the agency's director and then pushed to install Cellini's choice for a successor. Levine says the moves gave Cellini considerable power over the agency, which then awarded Cellini a $220 million business contract.<br> <br> Prosecutors say there was nothing illegal about that, but they say, to hold on to their power under Rod Blagojevich, Levine and Cellini tried to extort campaign contributions for the former governor.</p></p> Mon, 17 Oct 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/state-boards-boring-lucrative-93141 Timeline: The trials and tribulations of Rod Blagojevich http://www.wbez.org/story/timeline-trials-and-tribulations-rod-blagojevich-87969 <p><div class="dipity_embed" style="width: 600px;"><iframe src="http://www.dipity.com/ElliottRamos/The-trials-and-tribulations-of-Rod-Blagojevich/?mode=embed&amp;z=0#tl" style="border: 1px solid rgb(204, 204, 204);" width="600" height="400"></iframe><p style="margin: 0pt; font-family: Arial,sans; font-size: 13px; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.dipity.com/ElliottRamos/The-trials-and-tribulations-of-Rod-Blagojevich/">The trials and tribulations of Rod Blagojevich</a> on <a href="http://www.dipity.com/">Dipity</a>.</p></div><p>WBEZ staff examined the life, governship and trials of ousted Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.</p></p> Thu, 16 Jun 2011 21:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/timeline-trials-and-tribulations-rod-blagojevich-87969