Shomari Legghette sat expressionless as a Cook County jury returned a guilty verdict Friday afternoon on all counts, including first-degree murder, in his 2018 shooting of Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer in the city’s Loop.
The jury spent only about two hours deliberating after hearing testimony spanning two weeks. The verdict makes it likely that Legghette, 46, will spend the rest of his life in prison.
For the trial’s closing arguments, several of the courtroom’s pews were filled by Bauer’s supporters and relatives, including his widow, Erin. Other rows were filled by CPD officers in uniforms and civilian clothes.
Prosecutors said Legghette was wearing a bullet-proof vest, carrying packets of cocaine, heroin and marijuana, and carrying a loaded semi-automatic handgun when police tried to interview him Feb. 13, 2018, kicking off a chase.
Bauer, a 31-year veteran, joined the chase after hearing a radio call about a fleeing suspect, prosecutors said. The commander pursued Legghette to the top of a stairwell near the Thompson Center before the two fell to a landing where Legghette shot Bauer several times.
Prosecutors said police found Bauer’s body with his police radio still on, his handcuffs out on the ground, and his pistol still snapped in its holster. Legghette, they argued, knew Bauer was a police officer attempting to arrest him or detain him.
Legghette’s attorney, Scott Kamin, told the jury his client was a “street hustler” who thought Bauer was another criminal. Kamin said Legghette shot in self-defense after the commander put him in a chokehold.
Kamin said Legghette had never shot anyone and that he wore the body armor and carried weapons for protection on the street.
The slaying made Bauer the highest-ranking Chicago cop killed on duty in decades.
Testimony in the trial, overseen by Judge Erica Reddick, began March 3.
Legghette’s attorney told jurors the defendant would take the witness stand on his own behalf. But ultimately he chose not to.