Crusader staff report
The attorney of convicted murderer Jason Van Dyke said he expects his client to receive the minimum possible sentence, just three years, for killing Laquan McDonald after shooting him 16 times. Defense Attorney Daniel Herbert made the comments to Chicago’s Fox 32 News on Monday, October 8.
His comments came three days after a jury convicted Van Dyke of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. Van Dyke was found not guilty of police misconduct. The verdict brought a stunning end to a trial that lasted three weeks at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.
Judge Vincent Gaughan revoked Van Dyke’s bond and he was led out of the courtroom and immediately placed in a Cook County jail. On Tuesday, October 9, Van Dyke was sent to a Rock Island County jail located three hours west of Chicago.
Officials said he will remain there until his sentencing hearing on October 31 in Chicago. Herbert told Fox 32 News that Van Dyke’s second-degree murder conviction will be disregarded in favor of the 16 counts of aggravated battery. Hebert says since all 16 counts arose from one act, the range for his sentence will be from six to 30 years, but he expects Van Dyke to get the minimum and serve only half.
“Somebody with no background, they always get the minimum. On a class X (felony). So we expect nothing different,” Hebert told Fox 32 News.
Legal experts are unclear how long Van Dyke’s sentence will be. A second-degree murder conviction could mean serving probation, to 20 years in prison. Aggravated battery with a firearm is more serious.
Each count carries from six to 30 years in prison.
Van Dyke is not the only Chicago officer who faces years in jail. Three officers who are accused of conspiring to cover up the crime and protect Van Dyke will face trial on November 26 with Special Prosecutor Patricia Holmes handling the case. The defendants are David Marsh, Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney.
Van Dyke’s conviction has boosted the hopes of activists and Chicago’s Black community, which saw for the first time, a police officer found guilty for killing a Black person. Wearing a black suit, Van Dyke was stoic as he learned his fate while the verdict was read. He faces life in prison. His wife, Tiffany also remained stoic as she listened to the verdict.
Van Dyke’s sentencing will be October 31, 2018. Judge Vincent Gaughan revoked Van Dyke’s bond and the officer was jailed after the verdict was announced.
The unanimous verdict was made by a 12-member jury that included just one Black person, seven whites, three Hispanics and one Asian. They listened to weeks of testimony that included at least 40 witnesses.